Quoting in full from Caveat Lector, because it's so brilliantly concise:
A lot of library-school students ask me wide-eyed how I learn what I know about computers and programming and miscellaneous stuff. When I tell them “Accidentally, sometimes because I had to, sometimes because I was just curious,” they look disappointed.
What? Do they think I can show them the Yellow Brick Road to library geekdom, like some kind of fat hippie Glinda? I can’t. There ain’t no such thing.
There are, however, six magic words. Be very careful with them; they are extraordinarily powerful.
You will be careful, right?
Okay, then. The six magic words are, “Hmmm. I wonder how that works?”
If you’re not sure how to get started with technology, use the six magic words on something you use, see used, or are interested in using. Blogs. Wikis. Databases. Regular expressions. OPACs. The Internet. A scanner. Your iPod. Whatever.< “Hmmm. I wonder how that works.” Magic. Seriously. Try it.