Have you ever repeated a word to yourself so many times that you begin to notice the strangeness of the sound it makes? The repetition begins to conceal the meaning of the word, so you notice what it actually sounds like.
I’ve found the same thing happens the more you learn about a subject. As you burrow in, the surface layers of common sense peel away until you’re left with something stranger.
Strangeness is a good thing. It means you’ve ventured into new territory, where opportunities can be found and falsehoods shed. I’d say my goal in learning anything is to try to find this zone of strangeness.
In a recent blog post, Scott Young writes about something that I've experienced for as long as I can remember, that point where a repeated word suddenly seems to change.
I've also noticed this happen when doing a repetitive task: I feel the task becoming so automatic that I can almost forget about it, but then something strange happens and I start screwing up, as if the task became more challenging right when I was getting used to it.
I found Scott's point about how we can use this sudden strangeness to guide our learning quite thought-provoking and the full blog post is definitely worth a read.