A Powerful Method To Handle Infinite Sources of Information.

In the previous letter, I explained a complex and structured system for transferring information into intelligent notes.

In this letter, I will show you what I have learned when doing it in practice; I will share several insane insights with you, so you can increase efficiency and improve your note-taking process using just a little bit of my experience.

This letter explains a few more ideas about my mental model for getting more wisdom. I named this mental model a wisdom management system (WMS). These words are fancy terms to describe how I take notes, organize them, and memorize them for later study. If you are a nerd like me, you will like it.

Complex systems theory exposes (see Complex System) how an interrelated system does not necessarily increase complexity if you understand how smartly classify your processes, modularize, and divide the large and more constrained or complex into smaller ones that are easy to understand and control, so that you can create more robust and lower failures susceptible processes.

Why I reveal to you such an essential and complex theory for two main reasons; the first one is: when input variables and parameters are too many, complexity scales exponentially; second: the less you think about processes and complexity when taking notes, the easy it gets to seat, write, think, and study

So, when learning and writing, your goal is to make it as easy and enjoyable as possible; have fun, and let your brain appreciate the moment without worrying too much about the organization, inputs, outputs, or complexity.

So then, enough talk, and let us answer the question we need to address here:

How to handle infinite sources of information and get more wisdom simultaneously?

Looking at the world from a distinct angle, there is a hidden truth, only some people need to take meticulous notes and archive credible sources of information to review later at some point; only a finite or specific group of persons, when looking for knowledge needs to have detailed knowledge they can recall easily.

A singer or an artist, for example, might not need a structural way of taking notes and saving references, but if you are a scientist or an engineer, you should learn to structure and organize ideas, thoughts, and information to suit your thinking and reasoning so that you can be more effective in your day-to-day job.

It does not necessarily need to be a digital project; even some written papers will be better than nothing. However, a digital project has many advantages that I will share with you below.

To take digital notes bright, these are the best note systems I have found on the web; you can use any of these Molecular NotesZettelkastenEvergreens Notes, and tools like Notion, Obsidian, VS Code with Foam plugin, or other tools you can easily find online.

You should research to see which is better for your needs but remember that simplicity is vital, so pick the method that doesn’t challenge your understanding and makes you believe you have just the essentials of what you need.

In general, you are looking for something that helps you:

  1. Archive information to be processed later.
  2. Spaced repetition
  3. Avoid duplications.
  4. Tags and Linking references.
  5. Tagging 
  6. Graph visualization.

I researched all systems mentioned above in detail, my project has a litter of all of them, but I added some minimal modifications for personal preferences.

For example, atoms and molecules are cool abstractions explained in the Molecular Notes system, which means separating your notes into shorter interrelated pieces of insights.

For me, it was also necessary to control the evolutions and progress of those insights across time.

Creating much simpler notes that you can find and evolve quickly, so you must worry less about linking them at first instance.

First, focus more on the evolution of the notes because this increases your understanding and memorization.

But please, don’t get me wrong, at some point, linked understanding gives you more freedom when recalling; that is important too, but not when you have nothing to connect with; you don’t need to know how to organize your notes effectively when you second brain notes base knowledge is still blurry.

Evolve your notes, write, and re-write; this will give you freedom, and you will easily avoid making the same mistake almost everyone creating a second brain project does: spending too much time creating nonsense structures and substructures of folders for organizational purposes.

After several weeks of experimentation, I finally realized that there are only two essential types of notes to archive: Inputs and Outputs

I use blocks of knowledge, pieces of information that I save under an input folder; after that, any pieces of data are studied independently or simultaneously with other references.

From there, I filter the information my brain thinks is needed to retain in an output folder that holds atoms notes (definitions, quotes, facts, ideas, etc.), flashcards (for memorization and spaced repetition), or articles like this one you are reading now.

This is the most crucial item in the whole project since it is the only one that gives actionable value to the world; because knowledge is necessary, but more important is what you transfer and give to the world with what you have learned.

After explicit practical experimentation, this article only holds (hopefully) pieces of non-diminished wisdom and my understanding of the world.

After, during, and before, I have to say; there is a lot of research, reading, and thinking, this is an unavoidable step, so please don’t try to shortcut and copy other people’s projects. This will hurt your wisdom.

Devoured by my own words (letters)

I can share without remorse that I avoided all the pieces of advice I just gave you at the beginning of this letter.

Once upon a time, I tried to use Aristotle’s classification of knowledge (see here); I used to have a folder for episteme (scientific knowledge), where topics and subtopics were later subclassified for study, spaced repetition, and recall.

Another two folders named techne (practical knowledge) and phronesis (super specific knowledge, often called wisdom acquired only by years of experimentation and research)where a more complex process was used for distribution and organization with linked topics and subtopics, what a pain.

Fortunately, now, I can tell you that using just a binary system (inputs, outputs), I have no boundaries or constraints when learning whatever I want. It makes the research process unnoticed and less painful, and now my knowledge is diametrically structured and saved for later study and review.

For me, a second brain or a virtual network base knowledge that works is about something more than collecting information. It’s about helping you fuel thinking and allowing you to scientifically approach the world with more profound thinking and consequent understanding. 

Using a second brain allows you to structure your thinking and improve your understanding and retention of essential definitions and concepts as never before. However, still, more is needed.

Your main goal should be evolving your notes indefinitely; create constructive relationships between the information you process and the experience life give you; when living intentionally, you realize how easy it will be to see those patterns and behaviors that the world reveals to just a few peoples.

You must understand that the ability to get and keep knowledge is not the same as understanding or learning; only thru diligent discipline and intense curiosity (see reference to previous article here) will you get closer to the border of wisdom, and why not, receive some truth about how this complex world works.

I will end today with a summary of the insights I wrote for myself when working on this project. These notes summarize the relevant wisdom I have learned when working on this type of project. 

Great Ideas that could be helpful for you:

  1. Don’t save information to make your project look full.
  2. Skills are acquired through intensive practice. 
  3. Practical understanding of a subject that matters to you should include a certain number of notes and memorization to make it valuable and relevant for your brain to use consistently.
  4. What is unknown is essential, but you will never know how big the unknown is.
  5. The best exercise for understanding is writing; yes, writing matters when learning.
  6. The ability to discern or judge what is true and correct is essential.
  7. No amount of knowledge accumulation or enlightenment can guarantee a different place in this world; in this era, it is not about knowledge anymore; it is about what you do with what you know.  
  8. Everything you read is just information your brain processes somehow, but if not treated properly, the brain will discard it at some point if it is not used correctly.
  9. Play around with random data elements, and occasionally, lose your rigid structure on what interests you; this is good for the brain.
  10. When taking notes, do what and how you feel is convenient to you, but after that, synthesize all these random pieces of information in a more structured way.
  11. Organize topics, when necessary, but searching for a perfect organization only creates a complex structure and slows your thinking.
  12. Your focus is wisdom, not organizing your notes.
  13. Your knowledge should evolve to a level of we can be able to explain it with simplicity to our 5-year-old child (as Richard Feynman said)
  14. The minimum knowledge connection between notes must be two elements. 
  15. You get insights when applying fundamental knowledge, capture that experience in written sentences and make a linked knowledge or insight note.
  16. Flashcards your notes daily make you remember more but be careful with the information you save inside. 
  17. Improving your judgment on matters. 
  18. Focus on judgment, thinking, and wisdom first, then take notes, then write.
  19. Create a system that fits your learning style and brain patterns.
  20. Use visual text bullets, markers, icons, and images to activate your visual brain.
  21. It would help if you practiced proactive learning.
  22. Avoid complexity and embrace simplicity.
  23. Minimize duplication and redundancy.
  24. Remember that there are different buckets of knowledge (knows and unknowns); you can only learn things. 
  25. Make the process frictionless and enjoyable.
  26. And again, evolvability is essential because the world is evolving faster than ever, as does your brain, so your second brain must transform your ideas, notes, and experience quickly as you get more wisdom and live more.

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