My deep learning skills for 2017 by Suf Alkhaldi

The new skills to learn on 2017
The new skills to learn in 2017

As the new year of 2017 is approaching very soon, I usually spend some time to decide what kind of skills I need to develop in the next year. To select a skill, I spent some time thinking.  I like to select skills to give me the highest level of impact and return on my time.  This is what I came up with for the new skill:

  • Skill 1: Learning to be wrong

I usually search for facts that confirm my beliefs or at least my opinion.  I thought that if you connect facts to tell a story to support your opinion that would be enough to convince people by what you believe. Lately, I started evaluating this kind of thinking. It appears this kind of thinking causes weakness and decreases the soundness of judgment. I decided to do a 180-degree turn to prove that I am wrong. This way of thinking is a better path for me to discover.

Although discovering being wrong created stress and humiliation, my mind opened more for new ideas. Finding that I am wrong, in fact, increased my ability to find what is right, sharpening my critical thinking.  As a manager and supervisor, I developed the habit of asking people their opinion especially if it is totally against what I believe. I usually don’t tell them my opinion at the beginning because I don’t want to create thinking bias.

Discovering I am wrong though made me feel sad — since I have not been practicing this for a long time. After all, who wants to be wrong?  It took me some time to come over my ego to change my belief system.  This new kind of self-correcting mechanism made me practice critical judging. I became proactive in searching opposing topics. I noticed myself telling people “I would love to be wrong” more than before; I discovered that feeling detached from my emotions made it easier to be wrong.

  • Skill 2: Learning more by developing assumptions

To develop an assumption or an opinion of a certain topic with

Making the right decision to leave college
Learning to be wrong

current information you know is a great way to deepen your understanding. By doing this, I would learn better (as Cal Newport and Scott Young mentioned in their writing).  For example, when I go to a conference, I will predict which topics will be the main theme and where will be the focus of the conference. Adjusting my preconceptions, as it turned out, increased the depth of my learning.

  •  Skill 3: Selectivity in reading, watching, and listening to information

The media as well as human nature encourage us to be selective in believing things. Drinking from a firehose becomes the norm of being exposed to so much information. When we reach to this level of not being able to control our ability to gain knowledge and information, we need to start applying filters. The better the filter, the better the outcome of quality information.  As such, I am going to be very selective in reading, watching, and  listening.

This post is usually published on Saturday. I would love to hear from you (  Happy Holidays and New Year!


  1. johnrbryce December 18, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Great goals for 2017! A healthy attitude towards being wrong and to failure allow them to be great learning experiences and growth. Selectivity is a great companion to this since you can filter out a lot of the junk but also include material from the opposite spectrum of what you believe. For instance I enjoy watching TV while eating breakfast. Now I watch mostly YouTube where I can see videos of opposing political views, and differing scientific and social commentaries. It’s very interesting.

    1. User Avatar Suf Alkhaldi December 18, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      Hi John, I think drinking from the firehose is taking a big toll on me, and I assume a lot of people. I am going to decrease the amount of information in and be very selective. The second goal of being wrong, I still need a lot of training. Thank you very much for reading my post and writing comments. I am really honored with your valuable comments.


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