I am a big fan of learning and continuously growing yourself.
Ongoing learning comes with being passionate about a subject. However, recently I have learnt the hard way that there is a big difference between just learning and actually experiencing something. I got intrigued with the online space, after the birth of my first child. I was continuously listening to podcasts, reading blogs and articles about the subject. After about 18 months, I thought I knew all the basics to get started, and possibly turn this into a venture. I had my notes in Evernote, and with the help of Google, I, like everybody else, was pretty much the smartest person on the planet.
Reading about Chris Ducker’s Superhero Syndrome, I outsourced the web design to focus on the bigger projects like actually writing. I learnt after the initial enthusiasm comes in self doubt and right on cue, self doubt kicked in. A subject very popular online, so I knew I had to just push on and it would get easier. So I did. I ignored the self talk and continued. Blogging is easy I thought.
In one of my first blogs I made a huge mistake, I misspelled words, and had over seen them before I hit publish. World shattered. I noticed it only 2 days later. The entire world would know I spelled stronger as strnoger. The thoughts running in my head were, “Reputation lost. Give up the blog; you’re never going to make it.” Surprisingly, nobody complained. I learnt that even after publishing something I can edit it. Something I never read about, but learnt how to overcome it. Enter experience.
It seems so small, but is often overlooked. I know more about ups and downs of blogging in the 6 months by actually doing it then I did with the 2 years of online training. Today I have experience and found s method best suited for me. In the book, The Organised Mind, author Daniel Levitin, states that when ideas are processed on a deeper level, with more involvement from us, they become more strongly encoded in our memory. This is why passive learning through textbooks and simply seeing videos is not as effective as when we figure them out for ourselves.
The perfectionist in me always says learn more, edit more. Since I don’t have years of experience in the online space, no one will listen, but it isn’t true. Today I am experimenting and gathering experience and people value experience. We go to see an artist perform because, they perform. Learning how to play the guitar and actually playing it are two very different things.
Education is important, but the experience which comes when putting education to use makes us valuable.
With Google, there is no need for anybody to pay someone for information. What we pay for is insights; insights come with experience not education. Education simply informs us that posting on social media is important, interacting with people is necessary. But insights can differentiate between a troll and a critic online. Experience tells us to value the followers we have rather than go after the vanity numbers (something I am still working on!). Experience informs us to compare ourselves not with someone who has years of experience over us, but ourselves and notice how far we have come.
Education has its place, I believe it is very important, and we have to keep investing in ourselves. It should not come at a cost of experience. We learn much more from failure than we do with success. When we only learn, failure isn’t an option. When failure is not an option we will never push ourselves to see what we can truly reach. In the words of Zig Ziglar, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”