I’ve been trying to understand the word 'Populism' recently. It's a term that has entered my consciousness of late and I'd struggled to grasp its meaning. Apparently, so have others because it can have a broad frame of reference. However, in its simplest form it refers to 'a range of approaches which emphasise the role of "the people" and often juxtapose this group against "the elite". [However] There is no single definition of the term, which developed in the 19th century and has been used to mean various things since that time.' Thank you, Wikipedia. Why’s this important, you ask? Because populism has woven itself as a word into politics to such a degree that it can’t be ignored and therefore must be understood.
Understanding is the key to learning - which is very different to simply reading. Like me you've probably sat down to read a chapter from a book, or an online article only to get part way through to realise you have no idea what you've just read. Either your mind wandered - or you simply didn't understand it. That's why introductions matter. Introductions set the context for all that follows. If you're about to learn a new subject - read the introductions first. An introduction is an overview of the topic. An introduction to Genesis is a first step and much better than trying to jump in at a passage and make sense of it. Reading the introduction to: psychology, sociology, physics, the history of the Great War - or indeed whatever it might be is of great importance because it positions you grasp the subject as a whole. Think of it as a foundation - get that right and everything else in your learning will take shape. Overlook it - and you will struggle. Most of us can learn new things if we approach it in the right way - and that means not trying to run before you can walk. You can grow in confidence if you take the right steps - you can blow your confidence if you don't.
It's important to start well with any new learning experience. Don't assume you know more than you do - and if you do then reading the introduction will simply confirm this and further cement your knowledge. Taking shortcuts is not the answer to accumulating good knowledge - and good knowledge is the real key to personal growth, career development and flourishing in your chosen field. It will also stop you being arrogant and save you from coming across as naive and immature. If someone has consistently delivered in their chosen field - there is a reason for this, Otherwise (in the majority of cases) they will have fallen through the cracks - because sooner or later the cracks will appear. And you want to avoid this.
So, avoid jumping straight in. There is more to learn than your initial enthusiastic drive is showing you - harness that enthusiasm to enable you to make a proper start, it’s going to reward you tenfold five years from now. Be patient - it’s a virtue you need to succeed, and your success will be truly rewarding when you know you've paid the price for it. Forget celebrity - it over promises and under delivers. Work hard, rest well - and start at the beginning if you want to go the distance and have a great ending.