My physics teacher had a saying. Every time we’d ask a question which had many different possible answers, he’d say, “how long is a piece of string?”.

Being physics students someone eventually realised the length of any piece of string is twice half its length. So from then on, I made sure to answer his question with a smirk and say, “twice half it’s length”.

Now when someone asks me how long something will take.

How long does it take to learn calculus?

How long does it take to learn linear algebra?

How long does it take to learn to code?

How long does it take to get a job in data science?

How long does it take to start an online business?

How long does it take to lose 20kg?

My first thought to all of these kinds of questions is “how long is a piece of string?”.

My second thought is “I don’t know.”

My third thought is “twice the amount of time it takes you to get halfway.”

By the fourth thought I’m reflecting on my past. Trying to relate the question to how long it took me to do such things.

Then I realise, the simplest (and honest) answer is, it’s going to be different for everyone. And for some things, there is no finish line. When it comes to learning calculus. You could start with the introductory parts and then get as deep as you’d like. And the learning never stops. The more you learn, the more you figure out you don’t know.

I have to remind myself. Every day is day one. And when I’m stuck... learn/do the thing to get me unstuck.