A collaborative or individual effort to put information into digital or analog database – that’s not necessarily learning. That’s organizing. It’s almost learning, but not quite. What matters is what you’re going to do with that information once it’s organized.
Ok, so once the information is in Notion or Roam or a notepad, what’s next?
But wait. This is my problem with notetaking. Why can’t you study the source material? Why create more work for yourself?
‘But I’m putting the source material into my own words.’
I think it only seems that way. Like a mirage, it merely looks as if you’re putting the material in your own words. Taking a sentence and picking new words to say what the author is saying – that’s paraphrasing.
‘Well how the hell am I supposed to remember all this?’
Who said the point of a book is to remember all this?
Since when did the point of studying become knowing something verbatim? You remember it by remembering it – by recalling it. Even the most advanced practitioners can’t recall all theories or procedures word for word. Perfect verbal or written articulation of a procedure isn’t the point.
When you’re learning something, don’t take notes. Put the pen down and confront the most difficult ideas on your mental jiu-jitsu mat. The best way to become wise is to invite the greatest, most brilliant minds to punch you in the throat while your children watch.
Grappling with ideas. That’s how we learn.
Reading paragraphs over and over like reps in a gym. That’s how we learn.
Dropping our defenses and letting the smartest people whoever lived smash our preconceived notions with a chair. That’s how we learn.