The Four ‘R’ Czar
The only real prerequisite to learning in this fashion is an aptitude to learn. An aptitude that is sufficient in almost everyone due to curiosity alone. To effectively self-teach a couple of hurdles have to be overcome in the form of realizations made that will make learning anything and everything an efficient and progressive endeavor. A realization that exclusiveness such as copy-writing and patenting has added unnecessary complexity to virtually every field of knowledge but is necessary in understanding the motive behind the deliberate complication.
Take the field of automobile mechanics for example. The shade-tree mechanic only fades into obscurity when profitability becomes an issue. If they had cars that anyone could work on and would last a hundred years then the car manufacturing industry would have never become an empire which indecently may now also be fading into that same obscurity.
My point being that the degree of complexity that occurs with any thing man-made is not a natural course of sophistication and may not be worth adding to your repository of experience. Especially if more than a few factors could render it obsolete in less than a year.
The second hurdle is the almost inevitable encounter with the devil’s advocate. Whose duty is to always try to interfere with the self-teaching process. He will always be within earshot to impose limitation by reiterating everything that can’t be done and the million reasons that accompany every impediment. He will almost assuredly claim that you are wasting your time. Expect it and dismiss it.
The do it yourself mentality is a distant cousin of phenomenology. Instead of observing and extrapolating one observes and emulates. Any self-help book contains illustrations to support this observation. By reducing any skill, concept or technicality to its basic constituents one can more readily grasp it’s fundamentals without having to devote years of time and effort to become the authority on any particular subject. Almost everything you can and will learn is part of an evolution of idea whose ultimate form is not complexity beyond reason but simplicity of operation as well as ease of conceptualization.
This is the method that I employ to learning a new skill or subject. Especially if the time allotted yourself is not critical.
Research, Remember, Refrain and Realize
1. Research the genesis of the skill or subject and make note of how it evolved and why.
2. Remember the adage that necessity is the mother of invention in which innovation is a close cousin. Invite the other cousins like intuition and instinct and have a little family reunion.
3. Refrain from necessarily looking for the authority on the subject. The more obscure references may hold the rarer insights.
4. Realize that there is always a more efficient way of accomplishing a task. That it doesn’t matter who has done it or for how long. It should never influence a perspective that wishes to remain fresh.
Aptitude is always more universal than selective. We have all have taught ourselves at least one thing in our lives. There is little reason not to continue to do so.