What is this place? Is it a blog, a portfolio, a video channel, a journal? Is it to persuade you, to explain something, or is it telling you a story? It's a little bit of all of the above. Here's a story of how 20 Hour Da Vinci came to be.
I've always gotten bored of things pretty easily. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to gain something new is not something that I like to do, nor do I think that kind of repetition should be a major part of our lives. The things that excite me the most are not grand, large-scale dreams but small things that are completely new and original. I used to always wonder why I got bored of things so easily, when I had been so excited about them when I first started out learning. The truth, as it turns out, was in the fact that I like doing something new -- anything fresh and original will do. Because of that, my intense love of learning is less directed at studying a particular area deeply for long periods of time (though I have done so multiple times. Commitment and childlike fascination are two separate things.), and most often directed at learning about things that are completely new to me.
Unfortunately, learning a new language, practicing to play a new instrument, studying a new branch of science, or learning how to code are not typically things that you can learn to do as easily as, say, memorizing a new recipe or learning how to play a single, specific song on the keyboard. So naturally, I was pretty excited to listen to a TED Talk by Josh Kaufman, in which he explains why the traditional, so-called 10,000-hour rule (the rule that, to become good at something, one requires 10,000 hours of work) is massively convoluted out of the truth. He argues, in fact, that concentrated, efficiently used 20 hours is plenty of time to learn something to a skill level where you can enjoy doing it without being hindered by your lack of experience. To anyone who loved learning new things, this sounded too good to be true. But I wanted to put this "20-hour principle" to the test myself. If you do the math, 20 hours isn't too much. If you invest 3 hours of work into it every day, it only takes a week of work to learn something new. If you go with, say, a more reasonable 1-hour-per-day regimen, it still only (theoretically) takes just shy of three weeks. But because this isn't the only thing I'm working on outside of my full-time gig of being either a student or a developer at any given day, I've committed to a looser schedule.
My original plan was merely to try learning different things using that 20-hour schedule, with a new skill every few weeks. But as with everything else, doing this experiment alone would have been rather boring. So pulling in my experience from my main website and blog, I wanted to have an online platform where I could share my daily stories of trying to learn something completely new. And in an effort to create the best way to share my two-week excursions into unknown territory, the 20-Hour Da Vinci project was born. Through this experiment, I want to come across as much diversity, as much challenge, and as much fun as possible with each new skill, regardless of how long that may take to complete. I think both you and I can learn something new from each day that we have together, and hopefully, we can have a little fun in the process.
As I went along, though, I discovered that twenty hours out of the life of a busy ex-student who also works a full-time job and a couple part-time gigs is pretty difficult. So rather than hold strictly to that twenty-hour-per-skill regimen, 20HDV is just a place for me to share the various tidbits of stories I encounter as I try to learn new skills, around one every two weeks or so, from Italian to Juggling to Programming.
DA VINCI, THE POLYMATH
The website is in part named after Leonardo Da Vinci, arguably one of the greatest minds in human history. But he wasn't merely great because of his astounding mathematical scientific abilities; he was first and foremost a polymath, or multi-talented. From being a mathematician and a natural scientist to a writer, artist, musician, and an inventor, his skills encompassed an unbelievably wide gamut. And aside from his fame, I think that also contributed to his being a much more well-rounded person, both academically and otherwise, than many other scholars of the time. But most importantly, what probably drove him, the intrinsic love of learning about new things, also drives me to try something new every time, and ultimately, that's the basis for my story here.