Obsessive Learning for Small Business
Warning: I am about to share things that might sound like bragging.
The other day one of my new acquaintances said to me, “Wow! You’re really well-rounded.”
I was polite and offered up a sincere thank you. But inside, I wondered to myself why I am the exception.
As I go through day-to-day life I don’t really feel particularly different or special compared to anyone else. So why are my regular activities so impressive to everyone else?
Learning is a passion.
Let’s get this straight: I hated school.
Well, I hated grade school, at any rate. College was pretty fun.
I can tell you exactly why I loved college, too. I focused on learning something that is fascinating to me.
What makes a person skilled?
If I told you the things that interested me as I grew up, you suddenly wouldn’t be surprised at the amount of random knowledge and skills that I’ve picked up over the years.
I can fairly accurately guess the breeds in any given mutt. Why?
Because when I was a kid I dogs were my obsession and I read every dog book I could get my hands on.
I am a decent artist. Why?
Because I loved to draw, and I kept drawing and drawing and drawing. I have a bit of natural talent, but not the kind of raw talent that is going to make me a world-class professional. Disney Animation isn’t exactly knocking on my door. Yet, I kept drawing and because I kept doing it, I got better.
I don’t really want to give you a laundry list of what I’m good at and why.
What makes me different? I let myself have passions, and I allow the desire to learn more about those passions become a passion in and of itself.
When I want to learn about something, nothing holds me back. I believe that I can make myself into whatever it is that is in my sights.
What makes a person well-rounded?
Give in to that desire.
You want to get your business online?
Get nerdy with it!
[superquote]Don’t be embarrassed to go through an obsessive learning phase.[/superquote]
You’ll get over it – but the amount of information you can learn in a short time of obsession is immeasurable. The learning that you do isn’t going to leave you.
As you let yourself go in and out of mini-obsessions, you’ll start to see that you’re becoming one of those Jack of All Trade types who has dabbled in a bit of everything.
Give yourself mini-obsessions. Chase what is interesting to you now and then let it expire.
Have faith in yourself.
If you’re thinking about how hard something is when you’re trying to learn it, you will be so distracted that it really will be hard to grasp.
Have some faith that you’re of the human species, which is specifically designed to adapt and learn new skills quickly. We’re also very good at using those skills to our advantage for survival.
[superquote]Quit worrying about whether something is hard. Just try it without reserve.[/superquote]
You must overcome the mental hurdle, and in my opinion the best way is to forget it’s there.
Follow the 80/20 rule.
Pareto’s Law states that about 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. That means you can reach the 80% percentile of skill level at something new with only about 20% of the total effort it would take you to get to an expert skill level.
[superquote]When I learn something new I try to hit that balance – I put in the smallest amount of effort for the largest amount of return.[/superquote]
At the beginning of a new skill you’re going to have a sharp learning curve where you go from “beginner” to “intermediate advanced” pretty quickly.
Let yourself reach that point and then don’t worry about becoming an expert. When you need a real expert you can have them come in and help, but in the meantime you’re suddenly able to handle a lot of situations that you weren’t equipped for before.
Use this to your advantage.
You want to learn to blog for your business?
Spend a few days totally obsessing over what that will take. Spend a few weeks practicing churning out blog post after blog post. You won’t always make this much time for it, so take advantage of your new learning passion and take as much learning curve out as you can.
You want to learn social media for your business?
Set up an account and practice all the time until you feel comfortable with it, or at least feel that you’ve started to get it. Sure, you won’t always be this active in social media but this is going to get your foot in the door.
You want to learn to ________ for your business?
Use this rapid learning style to just do it. Get the scariest part over by jumping in feet first with a fire that cannot be contained.
The rest will come naturally to you.
What are you going to learn this week?
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