Take Action to Truly Learn

A monitor on a desk with a browser and code editor opened, showing plenty of written code.

To truly understand something, you need to apply the theoretical knowledge you learn as soon as possible.

A while ago, I wanted to learn React, a JavaScript library for building user interfaces. I read the official docs thoroughly and went through a couple of courses on getting started. It all felt good, like I was making progress and understanding more and more concepts and nuances.

And partly, this was true. But the crucial bit I was missing was the practical application.

Once I started building a simple app, I found a whole bunch of unknowns, missing fragments, and limitations in my knowledge.

I solved every problem I stumbled upon, bit by bit until eventually, the app was done. My knowledge expanded exponentially. If I was only reading docs and tutorials, I doubt I would have gained a comparable level of knowledge that I got by taking action and actually building something practical.

Immediately after understanding the basic concepts of something, start using it practically; you’ll stumble, get confused, lost, and maybe even frustrated. But that’s ok. That’s how we really learn.