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Typing Turtle
Typing Turtle

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The Learning Landscape

Hiking Analogy

I was hiking and thinking of my own learning journey and Sam Harris' book "The Moral Landscape". The analogy really holds of hiking and landscapes to learning in tech. As the analogy is pretty obvious and on the head, I'll continue here without spelling it out.

Planning your hike

  • Pick a mountain
  • Pick your team
  • What equipment will you need
  • Consider hiring a guide
  • Plan a path to the top

First, pick a mountain that's not out of your ability. Something similar to what you've hiked before. Remember, the less familiar or more difficult the mountain is, the more time you'll need to dedicate to it. If it's too difficult, you may need special equipment or a guide who's done the hike before.

Bringing others who have about the same hiking ability as you helps make the hike more fun even if a little slower. You're also less likely to get lost when hiking with others.

Next, plan a route to the top. Some paths are longer but easier, others are very steep but you'll get to the top faster. Again, you may need special equipment or a guide for difficult paths so plan ahead.

Begin your journey

  • Hike in groups
  • Make sure you're going up and not getting lost
  • Pace yourself and take extra time on the steep parts

It's best to hike in groups because even if it takes longer it's more enjoyable. Be sure to let the slowest of your group lead so your group doesn't get split up. Agree on milestones where the group can stop to rest and recharge.

It can help to have a navigator who's making sure the group is on the right path and making progress in the right direction.

You'll notice that steep and difficult areas can quickly burn out the group, emphasize good pacing and slow down on these areas so the group can keep going after.

Regroup along the way

If there are clearly two very differently paced groups within your group you may want to deliberately break up the group.

Along the way you may see unexpected attractions. Discuss with the group if you want to take the time to go enjoy these.

If someone is sick along the way or too burnt out you may need to take an extra day of rest or some of the group may need to head back down before reaching the top.

Celebrate success

At the top of difficult mountains there's often a book you can sign to show the world you got there. Be sure to enjoy the view from the top while you're there. You may notice other mountains in the area you might like to climb next!

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