Stanford Intellectual Vitality Supplement — Autodidacticism
A bit wary about the topic, but I suppose it does a sufficient job ... hopefully.
At some point, maybe around seventh or eighth grade, I realized that I could learn nearly anything that I wanted to. And I started focusing on things I truly had a desire to learn. I stopped wasting time on trivial matters, and spent every unoccupied second learning. I was no longer limited by the boundaries of a school curriculum, and I could venture into the unknown, with nothing to lose.
These forays actually started much earlier, though not on a conscious level. When I was nine years old, I was on holiday in St. Barts. I had just returned from a local jeweler, where I'd bargained for a pack of leather strings and a tray of leftover metal scraps. That night, I set about designing bracelets and necklaces, and my nine-year-old self reveled in my creations. I sold them on the beach, and returned home one hundred euros richer.
From there, I began to dabble in a number of rudimentary activities. At nine, I learned the algorithms necessary for solving a Rubik's Cube, and by the end of the day, I was able to solve it in around a minute.
My first real endeavor was Photoshop —*it took a few months to grasp its roots, but now, I've mastered the program inside and out. Later, I tackled Illustrator, which wasn't much of a challenge given it and Photoshop's homogeneous features.
Recently, I developed an interest in architecture —*specifically modern architecture. So I began teaching myself Cinema 4D, which I also use to manufacture digital product designs. In an attempt to broaden my linguistic arsenal, I speak with friends in France and Germany fairly often, in their respective languages. Latterly, I've been drafting business models, and figuring out the art of piano playing.
I've always loved fully grasping a concept, or mastering an ability. What I've realized is that success is simply the fruit of failure. Almost nothing I've done has been achieved without failed attempts — and what I love, is that you can set them on the workbench, and move on.