How to Become an Expert (without 10,000 hours)

Ben Heim
3 min readNov 17, 2023
Photo by Ethan Walsweer on Unsplash

The internet has created unparalleled possibilities to learn. But, most people aren’t even close to using it to it’s full potential. There’s a relatively overlooked secret in how to learn fast.

I consider myself particularly qualified to comment on this learning as I’m at an institution that, in essence, is working to help me learn as much as possible — including things from the more fluid side of intelligence (how to think, how to be an adult, how to advocate for myself, and how to learn) to the more crystallized intelligence (with math proofs, economics lessons, and reading ancient texts). Of course, these two intelligences feed off of each other, but I want to focus more broadly on an important metaskill — how to learn. Namely, how to learn quickly.

How Not to Learn

This quarter, I’ve become acquainted with the best way to not learn. In one of my computer science courses, I submit my code and then wait for a few weeks as the understaffed team of grades run automated tests on my code and then write feedback (often, I don’t even get comments).

However, one homework, which I submitted before my midterm, led to a particularly important suggestion that would have helped me on my tests. However, it came a week and a half after it needed to.

The problem is easily pointed to and less easily solved — quick feedback is important and great for learning, but I’m not receiving it.

The failure of this course, in particular, made it apparent to me how I (and likely many others) best learn. And it made me recall a time of my life almost 5 years ago.

Feedback Loops

I’ve been creating and sharing on the internet for about 10 years now. It started with Minecraft YouTube channels and eventually morphed into writing on Medium. The in-between step was a Quora phase. In my freshman year of high school, I was particularly interested in two things: powerlifting and physics.

I would often answer questions on Quora related to these two topics. Someone would ask “Can you lose weight just from walking 10,000 steps per day? and I would snarkily answer that the only way to lose weight is by being in a caloric deficit and it doesn’t matter how many…

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