How To Get Good At Something

Active recall through teaching is an underrated tool for learning.

Anthony Boyd
2 min readJul 14, 2021
Photo by Elijah M. Henderson on Unsplash

A few days ago I wrote that in order to get good at something, you have to spend an inordinate amount of time doing it.

That was only half the truth.

If you want to get good at something, teach it. Daniel Miessler said:

“Strive to understand your thing well enough to teach it, and to practice it well enough to be a professional.”

This is my goal. I’m currently working on a new craft, network engineering. I’ve been thinking about ways to go about mastering it effectively.

I’ve settled on active recall.

Active recall is by far the best way to learn information technology— specifically in the form of teaching. In class, I’ve formed the habit of taking the opportunity to explain certain topics that I find challenging.

I’ve been able to retain information faster because I strive to explain it in my own words.

I also randomly call up my friends and explain difficult concepts.

It’s weird but it works.

There’s somewhat of a lag, however, when it comes to learning. It takes a while to truly grasp a concept, especially as you’re practicing it.

For example, my leadership experience has been a learning experience — particularly the six years I’ve spend as a union leader.

I’ve spent those six years doing. Day in and day out, I applied concepts that I’ve learned in school as well as concepts I’ve gotten from leadership books.

Six years later I had the impulse to teach it through “listicles” and “How-tos.”

I want to accomplish the same thing with information technology — to get good by teaching. But first I have much more to learn.



Anthony Boyd

A unique perspective of leadership & personal development through the pen of a former union steward. |