It’s time to stop learning and start earning.
I’m not kidding. You really should stop studying and just get out there. Once I did, I became a lot more successful.
I can best explain the true cost of learning when I tell you about launching my blog.
Two years ago, I didn’t know what a blog was.
A friend convinced me to launch one in order to market a book I was writing, so I decided to “look into it.”
The more I looked into blogging, the less I understood it. As a result, I went deeper.
I bought every book on the subject I could.
I paid gurus to lead me to the blogging “promised land.”
I participated in programs that offered to teach me what to do.
I literally spent six months (and a big chunk of money) learning about blogging before I wrote my first post.
Don’t get me wrong; I did pick up some very valuable nuggets – but I learned volumes more in the first month of actual blogging.
In retrospect, I was lying to myself.
I was frightened.
And I was wasting time studying. It was my excuse to justify why I wasn’t actually doing the work. Who was I kidding?
I share this with you because you might find yourself in the same trap someday.
Let’s say you’re about to launch a new project.
You’ve decided you need to:
- Budget better.
- Invest smarter.
- Install a sink.
- Get the right kind of life insurance.
- Buy the right car.
- Get your business out of debt.
- Improve your credit score.
You realize that if you want a good result, you’re going to have to invest some time and possibly money. But why not try to save as much of both as you can?
Here are three steps to help you do just that:
Be crystal clear on exactly what you want to do and why you want to do it. Don’t worry. Later on, as you learn and experience more, you can change you mind. But be clear on your direction before you leave base camp.
Say you want to get out of debt. Even on a subject as straightforward as this, there are many opinions on what the best path is.
Is your goal to get out of debt quickly, or is it just to get out of debt and never get back into debt? Believe it or not, depending on your answer, you might take different actions.
Think hard about what exactly you want to get done.
2. Anoint your gurus carefully
There are so many experts on each subject, you’ll drive yourself crazy if you follow more than one guru. That was my biggest problem when I started learning about blogging. Each guru – even though they were all very successful – had a different message. I figured that if I could take the best that each had to offer, I’d be a sure success.
This was the biggest time waster I could have imagined. I followed one person’s ideas just long enough to get interested in someone else’s thoughts. As a result, I spent hours and hours chasing my tail. Don’t repeat my error.
Pick your mentor carefully and follow his/her direction.
Of course it’s important to keep asking questions. But if you are clear about your goal, pick the best person you can to help you achieve that goal and follow their lead. And put your blinders on.
Along the way, a little voice inside will tell you to veer off course. That you need to study someone else’s ideas.
If you’re trying to get out of debt for example, you don’t have to read a ton of books on the subject. You probably don’t need to spend hours and hours researching it either. You need to find one trustworthy expert and just follow that person’s direction.
3. Got Grit?
There’s a great John Wayne movie called “True Grit.” I recommend you rent it sometime.
It’s the story of a person who takes on a task without having all the tools and equipment he needs. But he makes up for that with determination. That’s what you need.
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. They can be fixed. And be patient. Solutions take time.
Don’t be afraid of refining your goals and changing direction. Once you embark on a path, you can always make adjustments. It’s easier to do that once you leave port. But you’ll never reach your destination if you stay in port.
Every time you make a mistake, you’ll learn a ton and you’ll get much closer to your ultimate goal.
Your homework assignment
Pick the most important item on your “to do” list and take action.
Make a list of the steps you need to take in order to make that wish a reality.
If you want to improve your credit score (for example), the first step is to get your FICO score so you’ll know where you stand.
Next, get a credit report and start correcting any errors you find. Finally, take other steps to boost your credit score.
It will take patience and time but you can knock these pins down… One at a time.
Expect to do it wrong and be OK with that. Expect to make mistakes. Just put put the books down. Stop doing research.
Get going — and remind me to do the same when I get caught in the trap. 🙂
3 Responses to “Stop Learning and Start Earning”
Who’s to say you aren’t learning while you are completing a task? You can still learn new things while in action. I understand what you are saying about being unproductive when you are just sitting back observing or learning without actually doing anything though.
This is some of the best advice you could possibly give. No amount of “teaching” can give you the knowledge gained from failure. It is not to say teaching is worthless, but at somepoint you need to just jump right in. I say, once you get a handle on the concept, jump in, you’ll learn much faster. This is especially true with programming and languages.
This advice is priceless. Quite often a task that seems daunting when you try to imagine the whole is much more simple when you actually attempt the individual steps.
As well as the advice on choosing one guru to follow I would say that you shouldn’t be afraid to discard some of their advice once you have learned by doing. Your situation is unique and not all of the advice that you receive will suit it.