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Building network automation solutions

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Few Secrets of Successful Learning: Focus, Small Chunks, and Sleep

One of my readers sent me a few questions about the leaf-and-spine fabric architectures webinar because (in his own words)

We have some projects 100% matching these contents and it would be really useful this extra feedback, not just from consultants and manufacturer.

When I explained the details he followed up with:

Now, I expect in one or two weeks to find some days to be able to follow this webinar in a profitable way, not just between phone calls and emails.

That’s not how it works. The only way to truly grasp a complex topic is to understand the fundamentals, build a (correct) mental model, and then hang facts onto that model (warning: gross oversimplification).

I try to present every topic in a structured way starting with simple examples and slowly building the complexity (that’s why the design part of the leaf-and-spine fabric webinar starts with layer-3-only fabrics), but you won’t grasp it unless you focus.

Turn off every single distraction, put your phone into silent mode and leave it in another room, shut down all applications on your laptop (or tablet) and study.

Also, don’t push it. You can’t absorb a complex topic in a few hours. Take a few small chunks at a time, try to understand them completely, think about them for a while (great ideas happen when your brain is totally bored while you’re brushing your teeth), figure out how you could use that knowledge in your network, and then proceed to the next chunk.

Being slightly desperate my reader added:

Maybe sleeping is overrated :-)

It’s not. You can’t absorb new things when you’re tired (also: sleep cleans up your brain). I’m always amazed when I meet walking zombies who work 10+ hours a day for months, and think that working even more will get them ahead.

6 comments:

  1. Ivan,

    On one hand you mentioned that application should detect the network requirements and another hand we push application developers to work on L3 only network. Isn't this contradiction?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't see where I said that in this particular blog post. Probably I'm just too tired - can you help me?

      Delete
    2. I've learned to spend time efficiently. I simply avoid learning when I'm tired.
      I can't think "deeply" and learn with a tired brain.

      So a fresh brain for learning and a tired brain for rutine stuff,- could be cleaning the house or doing things I know inside-out.

      After learning this the hard way, I avoid much frustration, spending hours and days without progress.

      Delete
  2. SPOT ON -

    Take a few small chunks at a time, try to understand them completely, think about them for a while (great ideas happen when your brain is totally bored while you’re brushing your teeth),

    ReplyDelete
  3. There is free worthwhile course named "Learning how to learn" about deep memorising of huge chunks of information on coursera. Strongly recommend it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very well said Thanks Ivan !!!!

    ReplyDelete

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