Never-Ending Valley of Despair

Hi everyone! 👋

Welcome to my first official newsletter. I’m hoping to keep it short and spicy, so let’s get to it.

I hope to talk lots about studying, productivity, mindset and lifestyle. The focus will be on studying for a while.

Since the school year has begun for most Aussie students, I thought this would be quite timely. This is something I wish I realised.

Story Time

In year 10, I studied more than I did in year 12. I was so fixated on ‘short term pain, long term gain’, ‘just work harder than everyone else’. I lived off these mantras, lol.

Come the end of year 10, I literally burnt out when I was 16 from studying. I distinctly remember being very confused because I had put in all this time into studying but I wasn’t exactly getting results I was satisfied with, despite putting in all the time I could.

Now speaking to lots of students myself, I realise that this is not uncommon at all.

This got me thinking at the time – how were these older students (year 12) studying so little and getting top grades but still going to parties and keeping up with friends?

This is what I asked myself and believe you should ask yourself too. If the average students who are ranked in the 99.5+ percentile of students (99.5+ ATAR) and 99.95 percentile (99.95 ATAR) are already putting all of their time into studying, what is causing this difference in their results?

The thing is, you can often predict which student will achieve either score by seeing how they spend their time. They are already spending as much time as they can studying; what is causing this difference?

It’s how they use that time. Whatever they’re doing, they’re learning quicker and more than other students.

Regardless of how they might have achieved this, natural talent or a perfect strike of random events that have let them become ‘smarter’ by chance, they just do it better.

So, how was I going to do this as quickly as possible? Study techniques.

I learnt the hard way to invest in my learning and learning how to learn. Active recall and spaced repetition are really just the beginning.

Why am I sharing this?

Well, recently I met a guy through a mutual friend, you could say that he’s a coach for productivity and learning. After a year of trying out all the ‘best’ study techniques, I could find I thought that I knew so much more than my peers because they had no idea what this stuff was.

Then I met this guy and realised that everything I knew was only 15%, maybe even less, of what he knew about study techniques.

I fell victim to the Dunning-Kruger effect, yet again – and this happens time and time again.

From Mount Stupid in year 11-12 (thinking I knew study techniques) to now being in the Valley of Despair. I’m always learning but trying to always catch myself when I’m climbing Mount Stupid. I didn’t catch it this time.

So, hopefully this is some food for thought.

Do you know where you are on the curve? Try catch yourself before you climb too quickly.

See you next week!