Updated: May 2, 2019
I am going to start this post by saying that I am not a genius, nor do I claim to be one. I also don't want to sound condescending or that I know more than anyone else. There. Glad that's off my chest. Now let me tell you how to think...
Depicted here is a visual of light rays bending due to gravitational waves. Pretty sick actually if you think about it, it's amazing how we discovered that light acts like a wave, but also like a particle too. This is one of the many simple, yet completely game-changing finds in our history of humanity. The first step in understanding complex ideologies and theories, or hell, even understanding basic math, is coming to terms with the fact that humans are flawed. Now you may be asking yourself, why would knowing that humans are flawed have any correlation to me learning anything. For me, it's all about my personal understanding of what I already know vs. what's to be learned about that subject. If you go into anything thinking that most people are way smarter than you, or that they probably had a 4.0 in grad school and you just went to public school, then you are already setting yourself up for a demoralizing adventure into the unknown. It's true that everyone learns at their own pace, but one thing is certain, people that have an interest and passion in learning something tend to learn quicker, and understand more - simply because they are willing to learn and excited to learn. One of my favorite quotes of all time is "I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious" - Einstein
So lets apply this to Stephen Hawking's theories on black holes. Anyone would argue that Hawking was a genius, the guy could calculate quantum propositions in his head. One thing stuck out like a sore thumb with Hawking's theories, and that wasn't their proof or accuracy - No - It was the fact that every time something clicked in his head and he figured something new out, he always set off to disprove it before anyone else could. Hawking knew humans are flawed, he knew probably better than anyone else on earth, and he would try his hardest to disprove a theory simply because he wanted to make sure it was a valid, rational, and an accurate assumption. Every great scientist should know that being proven wrong is just as good as figuring something out. Being proven wrong and taking it personally is yet another human flaw. We experience jealousy, anger, resentment, defeat! How dare someone challenge me! I spent years of my life figuring it out only to be proven wrong! - What they don't see sometimes, is that by spending years of your life proving something right to be proven wrong, is a beautiful thing. Think of it this way, if you didn't spend years of your life proving it right, then who would prove it wrong and make progress? Isn't it better to have made some progress if no progress at all? Which comes to my second point in learning how to logically figure things out - Don't be afraid of failure, accept it as a way to learn.
“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will.” - Thomas Edison
School was particularly hard for me, a lot of the time I felt like I was actually intelligent at the things I liked and terribly stupid at things I didn't like. And I wish a teacher made the correlation and just told me, so it didn't take me 24 years to figure out that I am a smart guy! I can honestly say I am intelligent, everyone technically is. The way we tend to portray intelligence is actually the first two picture of this blog. Things that most people think only a genius can grasp. It's really not true, I know people who have a hard enough time formulating a good sentence day to day but know almost everything about cars. How the engine works, how the tires alternate, what the best way to maintain it is. Now if that same guy knew all there was to know about black holes, and nothing about cars, he'd have awards and be on television - all because of the way we portray intelligence. Actually, thinking about it now.. Knowing everything about cars is way more practical day to day than black holes, but I digress. Learn what you have passions for and it will come to you naturally.