Critical Thinking and Learning Site

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For as long as I can remember myself, I’ve always been of a curious nature. How to better learn something, how to increase the business revenue, how to make a woman fall in love with me, how to work out more effectively, how to improve my diet. Most of the times I didn’t even realize that; it was mainly a subconscious process.

Everything  felt like a small trial and error process, my instinct was leading me. Things were going well, or at least that’s what I thought. The first bell rang about five years ago. My inner voice didn’t sound so clear anymore. Something wasn’t working out, I couldn’t take pleasure in as many things as I used to, I just had an overwhelming feeling of general dissatisfaction. So I decided to shake things up. I abandoned my political involvement, changed the business area I had been focusing on, and became more serious about working, trying to read more, even if I didn’t know specifically the reason why I was doing all these things.

During those five years, my subconsciously driven ventures became more intense, meaning that I didn’t know what I was doing and tried whatever came to mind. I started learning Chinese, resumed my previously abandoned German lessons, considered applying to an Ivy League university for an MBA, started participating in startup weekends, experimented with -and failed repeatedly- ideas in various fields, such new social media, clothing apps, the automotive industry, and gaming. I started studying web development, computer science, a little bit of marketing, reading lots -I mean really lots- of articles. Articles about everything, from politics (which I am still interested in), to business and startups, sociology, psychology, data science, artificial intelligence. Saved a lot of them to Evernote, gathered and tested lots of tools to build, promote and sell products. I decided to travel the whole Europe in a year, although, due to external factors, it took a year more than I originally anticipated to achieve this goal.

Not everything was a failure. In my main venture now, there are 25 people employed, generating an annual turnover of about 4m (imagine that this was achieved during the hard years of the Greek crisis). In the last couple of months, I fell in love with  photography and I believe this will lead somewhere.

About two years ago, three plus one things happened.

The first is the discovery of one very useful tool, RescueTime. RescueTime is an app that helps you get focused when you are on a pc (or mac). The app divides the sites you visit into two categories: productive and distracting (e.g. Facebook). So if you can’t restrain yourself while working, you use the app to block the access on distracting sites for the time period you select. The other things it does, is that it gives you an analysis about which sites you spend the most time in and gives you a percentage of how productive you are. This app helped me realize how much time I was wasting not only on the usual suspects (Social Media, YouTube etc), but in news sites too.

The second thing is that, by traveling a lot and meeting some really interesting people, I felt that I hadn’t really improved all these years in terms of knowledge. Although I invested a lot of my time on reading, I didn’t feel that I was becoming any wiser, I hadn’t learned something new. This made me wonder what I should change in order to assimilate more knowledge.

The third was a combination. I read a book called ‘Think Fast and Slow” by Daniel Khanemann, and some articles about Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet. Khanemann’s book explained the two ways our mind thinks, system one being called “the fast” and system two “the slow”, and how we are biased in our decision making procedure and our thoughts. Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet are reading machines, so I got interested in what they read and how they acquire knowledge. Τhe notion of mental models intrigued me in particular (more on that later on).

Those three discoveries came to an initial period of internal thoughts, along with some philosophical quest,  about what each individual wants in life, how to determine this, and, after that, how to move on to more practical matters; how to achieve the things the individual wants.

After deep pondering and experimentation, I reached some conclusions. The most important maybe, is that I love learning new things, I really enjoy training my mind. There are times that, when I learn something new, I feel almost ecstatic! So I decided to spend as much time as I can dedicated to this goal: learn more and become wiser.

The experiments continued the past one and a half years, and the result is this site. I created it to share my experiments, what I’ve learned, how others could perhaps gain from that knowledge, or maybe adapt something they see here to their own educational path. How to think in a better way, how to be more efficient in the learning process, or even how to make their introspection.

Unfortunately, I tend to get really excited with a whole lot of things. Although I may be studying the PreSocratic Philosophy for quite some time, I might see an article about Neuroscience, get distracted, and start reading books about that. So, another scope of this site is to help me keep myself focused on my end goal. Because unfortunately, you can’t (yet) learn and do ten things simultaneously; multitasking is not working.

So now what? How am I going to do all these things? Another 3 articles will follow, explaining why critical thinking and learning, how to do this, and why do it like Plato.

 

Critical Thinking and Learning Site


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