【How to Learn】Active Learning 6: Abstraction, Summarization, Induction, and Organization


Hello everyone, let's study proactive learning lecture 6. It is very good to be a proactive person. This lecture is the most important one. What is it talking about? It is talking about abstraction, summarization, induction, and organization. Whether your fate is good or bad, it is all contained within these qualities.

1. What is proactive learning?

If you do not know what proactive learning is by now, it is very bad. Proactive learning is not about finishing reading a book or taking a class. Proactive learning is what we are discussing now. Abstraction, summarization, induction, and organization are the foundation of logical thinking. Many people are deceived because they lack logical thinking.

Why some people who haven't read books are very clever? It is because when they find something they haven't figured out, they think deeply about what it should be. They do abstraction, summarization, induction, and organization. They are very skilled at summarizing human weaknesses.

Abstraction, summarization, induction, and organization can be used to find the main concepts and the relations between them. Then if you can use your language to clearly describe the relationships between concepts, you truly understand them. No matter what you do, use these strategies.

What I am talking about now may be a bit confusing. I am trying to make things simple so that everyone can understand. Don’t be confused as soon as you hear the concepts. We use our language to describe the relationship between concepts, and we make these clear. It's amazing that once you put it in your mind and put it in order, you still can't forget it.

Some people put a lot of things in their heads, but they can't remember them because they are not organized, just like you can't find things if there are too many things in your house. This is proactive learning. It is useless if you miss this important step during learning.

2. Characteristics of proactive learning

In my former company, when we had meetings, everyone would talk all at once, making a lot of noise. I would ask everyone to wait for a moment, stand in front of the whiteboard, and write a topic. Then, I would ask if what we were discussing was what I had written. If we didn't write it down, things would get chaotic after a while. This is called summarization. Summarise things and organize them. Don’t keep babbling about everything. Focus on the main points and express them, it saves you time and energy.

Once things are sorted out, the efficiency of doing work will increase. For example, cleaning the washroom, even such a simple thing, took me a long time to do. I did it slowly at first, taking twenty minutes to finish cleaning, but later it only took one or two minutes to finish. If you have a clear mind while doing things, you will be able to achieve things quickly. This is the characteristic of proactive learning. Even though this seems like a lot of information, it's not a lot.

3. How to abstract

If you don’t know how to abstract, the problem will be big. One way to abstract is to look around and observe things. Look at your furniture, what do you see? You can see that all of your furniture is square-shaped, whether it is long or short. I make a small square box, it may be a nightstand. Then I make a higher square box, it can be a wardrobe. This abstracted the essence of objects.

Look at math, all numbers are the same. 5 apples and 5 oranges are totally different objects, but the number is 5 overall. Maths are created from abstracting. Geometry is also abstract, and drawing engineering diagrams is abstract as well.

There are many abstract tasks in the so-called sciences, as well as in the social science concerning human nature. Some people doubt whether human nature can be abstracted, and the answer is definitely yes.

There was once a period when we practiced the socialist communal dining system, but the more we ate, the poorer we became. That is because whether people worked hard or not, the outcome was the same, and as a result, nobody wanted to work, leading to a decrease in productivity. However, the capitalist system motivates people, because, in a capitalist society, private property is sacred and inviolable. Therefore, people work tirelessly.

Later, Deng Xiaoping, the architect of China's reform and opening-up policy, grasped the essence of human nature: selfishness. So after the reform, the entire private sector emerged rapidly like mushrooms after rain. This is a prime example of fully utilizing and harnessing the initiative within people.

That's why when I convince people, I don’t seek my own benefit, I seek your benefit. I seek your best interests, and you seek your best interests. Aren’t we on one page?

4. How to summarise

When you read a book, if you can summarise the whole book on an A4 paper, then you are very good at summarising. If you don’t summarise and build a system, you will be messed up. So how do we summarize? For example: We have read a 100,000-word book, and after finishing it, your mind is likely all over the place, and you are left feeling confused, not knowing what it is all about. We can do this: Flip through the book again, back and forth, and summarize it into about a hundred words, or maybe up to a thousand words. After this, then I pack it all into my brain, nice and clean.

No matter what you are doing, if you summarise, your head will not be messed up. Put information into your brain, not the computer. The computer knows everything, you need to put stuff into your brain. You need to summarise, if you don’t write things into your brain, your notes are useless. If you are not a proactive learner, you have no patience, and if you don’t learn, you will easily be cheated.

Let me give you an example. Many years ago, my friend went to study for a master's degree in business administration and spent money to study full-time. The total money spent was 300,000 Singapore dollars. I also wanted to know the knowledge. Then what did I do? I borrowed the textbooks from the library and read them myself. It's free!

5. How to induct

What is induct? It is about finding the laws or patterns of a thing. How do you induct? For example, in sociology, what do you observe? Have you heard this saying: "Dragons give birth to dragons, phoenixes give birth to phoenixes, and the offspring of rats will dig holes." In fact, this is a kind of induction. Although this induction is not precise; it is probabilistic.

Another example is a scammer or a thief who will do a quick glance, and then find the target. Why? If you look like somebody who is vulnerable and easy to steal from, they will target you. However, if you don’t look like somebody easy to steal from, they will stay away from you.

So whether it is abstraction, summarization, or induction, it is about finding the inherent patterns of things. When you discover various patterns, you are essentially identifying the rules that govern each category.

6.How to organize

We do a lot of things every day, we go outside every day, we learn every day, we take classes, and at the end of the day, we are very confused. You need to sort things out carefully. If your house is messy, your mind will be messy, and messiness will lead to depression. You need to organize what you are learning or else it will all be jumbled up.

Let me give you an example, at a construction site, there are many tools, if these tools aren’t organized, they will become messy. What we do is, every time we use a tool, we put it back where it belongs, and we often tidy up. This way, the construction site stays tidy, and the tools are not hard to find.

So, learning and thinking are similar. You need to organize things and keep them tidy in order to be clear-minded.

7.Grasp patterns and improve logical thinking abilities

What are abstraction, summarization, induction, and organization for? They help you to grasp patterns, then you will be able to think logically. A pattern is the relationship between concepts. Once you've grasped the patterns or rules, you can conduct logical analysis. What is the ultimate goal of the logical analysis? It is for problem-solving.

Start practicing small and simple things, if you can grasp the patterns, you will be able to solve big problems. Start practicing in one field, then apply this knowledge to other fields. You need to apply these methods in everything you do. Whether we are students, workers, teachers, or housewives, we should all use abstracting, summarising, inducting, and organizing in everything we do. Then we can have logical analysis to solve problems and grasp more patterns.

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