Analogies -- Seth Godin's Comments
Analogy is a very useful tool. When I was in taking physics in college one of my professors noted that success in English was a better predictor of success in college level physics than success HS math and physics. The reason he stated is that one of the things English courses make you do is to analogize. I do not know if Dr. Lind was exactly right about that notion, but I one thing I did notice was that certain mathematical themes kept recurring and while the actual physical components did not match up, the math did rather well.
For example, if you understand the math behind bouncing a weight attached to a spring you are well equipped to understand how microwave ovens heat your food and drinks. Still, if you are not quick to pick up on the mathematical analogy you would be learning essentially the same math all over again -- essentially having to start the race all over again.
When looking at a new experience try to recall what you have learned. Take a look at similar situations you have encountered in life and attempt draw analogies. They do not have to be perfect just approximate.