tl;dr In order to build your knowledge base, start with a question you want answered and work back from it.
Competence in many skills > the mastery of only 1 skill.
Competency in a skill leads you to recognize beautiful executions of the skill; this gives you the power to appreciate the beauty hidden in the world around you.
Example: If you study the art of trombone playing, you are more likely to appreciate the talent of a street musician that is playing high notes with rich timbre.
Wide-spread knowledge in both art and STEM reveals connections between seemingly unrelated concepts; connections that others do not see. These connections often lead to valuable and creative solutions. Overspecialization is dangerous.
Fostering your competency in many fields
$\rightarrow$ wide-spread aesthetic appreciation
$\rightarrow$ being a connoisseur of life.
Complement mere competency by studying a few select topics in enough depth to appreciate their deeper beauty and underlying simplicity.
How, you might ask, do you achieve competency in many disciplines?
Would you like to learn [physics||maths||…], but have no idea where to start?
0. Start with a question that you want answered and work back from it.
This is an effective way to enjoyably learn any field!
Once you have an interesting question to motivate you and esoteric terms to guide your reverse-engineering, you have the motivation and a plan to build your knowledge base.
1. Get excited.
After your burning curiosity pushes you past the give-a-damn point, you give a damn about the basics of the fields that hold the answer to your question.
Having this excitement transforms the drudgery of simply-worded beginner books into a treasure hunt for the missing puzzle pieces you need to understand your interesting question!
2. Explain what you’ve learned.
Explain concepts to yourself &| to those willing to listen
Understanding of a concept and the ability to explain the concept well go hand in hand. Explaining what you’ve learned will reveal the holes in your knowledge base that might otherwise go undetected! Fill these holes.
Thank you, Matthew Lynn, for leading our interesting discussion to cover this topic!