The greedy algorithm won’t work for learning

You are overloading your brain capacity.

I finished reading the Input since my previous post, as well as starting with the new book called Atomic Habits. Before creating any technical post, I think it is interesting to show some critical points of what I found. During the long journey of studying and practicing computer science knowledge and skills respectively, I realize hard-working is an attitude but more importantly, is how smart when you learn a new thing. It plays a very critical point when we want to know how efficient we learn and it seems that hard works are acting like a greedy algorithm, trying to optimize each choice of new knowledge within a limited time. But does it work?

Our brains only can hold around 3 new pieces of information or knowledge at a time and we will forget about it easily when there are more than that.

Maybe you think human brains are amazing and we can hold tons of skills or knowledge. Well, to some extent, it is not true. The entry of our brain for holding new things is actually very narrow, and its capacity is minimal. When we try to understand all of the content within a short period of time, it is mostly going to fail for an average human being. The more you want to force yourself to learn, the quicker you will forget about it. We are not a computer and a greedy algorithm will not work on us.

However, the informatics world is very competitive nowadays. We are forced to adapt to the fast paste of work done with good quality and quantity. Then you might ask me, is there any possible way to speed up our learning but without forgetting it easily at the same time?

3 + 3 Algorithm

Target 3 small topics while you study and move on to the next 3 small topics if and only if the previous 3 topics are fully sustained in our brain.

In the book Input, it mentioned a way to always remind ourselves of quality over quantity on learning. The deeper you know and practice on the first 3 topics, the easier you learn the next 3 topics without forgetting the previous topics studied. This 3 + 3 technique should do it iteratively, with each day we do not overload our brain capacity. It also emphasizes to separate the things to do and concentrate only on the thing you are doing at the moment. With intensive concentration, it allows our brain to forget the “greedy” mindset and we will feel happier when we really “learned” it. I have illustrated how emotion can help us with learning in my previous post.


I have talked about how we should give up the greedy mindset when we learn a new thing. In the futures post, I will talk about how few concepts from the book Atomic Habits, where small changes every day and stay consistent will bring us to a huge change.


For technical posts, I am currently revising object-oriented design in C++ in deep. The next coming post will focus on some basic concepts including accessors, mutators, copy constructors, shallow copy, and deep copy.

Well, it was a busy and “exciting” week. However, still trying to keep my best for learning and coding daily.



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