Are you thinking at the third level?

Why I write

My goal is to create critical stepping stones when describing new concepts. This will help avoid having to memorize anything. You may be like me. I never did like memorizing stuff.

Juman Hijab, MD MPH

The three levels

I want you to reach the third level of thinking. The struggle is worth it.

Explaining things in a way that makes sense

The most easily understood concepts are those that can be explained using common examples.

Being able to explain the concept to others

As a mentor and teacher to others, I try to have them explain concepts back to me.  

Extrapolating to other areas

To check that I really understand a concept, I have to be able to explain variations or unusual situations. 

1. It has to make sense

There are waves of concepts and explanations for how things work on the internet. Some make sense; some don't.

When I read an explanation - say, for how water freezes - I want it to make sense at a molecular level, but also at the macro-level. Did you know that there is a lot of controversy even for something as simple as why and how ice is slippery?

2. If I can't explain it, I don't understand it

Have you been in the position of trying to explain something and then you realize that you have confused yourself more than your listener? 

It is a challenge to learn something so well that you don't trip up on your explanations. The best way of doing that is asking yourself questions. 

3. If I haven't played with the concepts, I won't remember them.

I feel embarrassed to say that when I tried to extrapolate one simple concept to a broader application(say, "why clouds are white" to "why clouds are pink") , it wasn't always easy sailing. 

Why go through the effort?

Multiple reasons. The main one that resonates with me is that it is a gift to learn something new everyday. 

And I can use this gift to give back.

Juman Hijab

Juman Hijab, MD MPH

I am a regular contributor to Life’s Chemistry Press with a series of articles and posts. This work developed over years, with a central goal of having the biochemistry and physiology of life make sense to many audiences. In writing those articles, concepts have been drawn from multiple disciplines. Any novelty in the material is due to a re-synthesis of those elements.

I am not a researcher; I was a practicing physician. I like things to make sense, whether someone has an odd symptom or someone acts in an unpredictable way. This is true for all of us; we like things to make sense. Once things make sense, it is easier to plan the next step.

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