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Jordan Reeves

TED-Ed Community Manager, TED Conferences

TEDCRED 500+

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What is the most important thing you've learned on your own?

In three sentences, explain something that you've learned without being told by another person -- something you've figured out all by yourself. Here's an example:

"I learned how to paint with water colors by reading a book and searching for YouTube videos. It took me a while, but I figured out some techniques that really work for me. I'm not an expert yet, but I have discovered a real joy in painting."

It can be anything -- a practical skill (like painting) or a knowledge set (like how to use mathematics).

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    Feb 24 2013: How to think critically and solve technical problems is probably the most important skill set I've acquired on my own, and this was primarily enabled by my having a personal computer when I was in elementary school (late 1970's) with which I could write programs in the BASIC language. Self-learning requires a feedback loop where the learner can evaulate the effectiveness of what they've learned and make corrections based on the results, and computer programming offers this in spades (e.g. if there's a mistake anywhere, the program won't run the way you intend).

    There are more profound lessons in life I've learned by way of personal experiences, but I cannot truly say I learned them "on my own" because in most cases the lessons were offered to me by others and it just took me a long time to recognize the wisdom of what they were trying to teach me.

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