This is a follow-up to the previous post about learning, which you can read here.
Learning is obviously a valuable skill, but sometimes learning is really just a crutch.
I’ll explain what I mean, but first, a story about a guy you probably know…
Meet Johnny Knowitall
Admittedly, Johnny doesn’t know everything, but he certainly knows more than you!
Johnny comes in all shapes and sizes.
Johnny is that overweight guy who has read every piece of literature on nutrition and tries every diet, but they don’t work for him because of his genetics…
Johnny is that old guy who tells you the key to success is a college degree and job security, while he slaves away at a job he hates, waiting for his precious retirement…
Johnny loves reading about how other people have improved their lives, but the motivation never lasts for him…
Johnny has big dreams, but he’ll start on those tomorrow…
Johnny is obsessed with politics; nothing gets him more excited than a lot of talk with no action…
You’ve met Johnny before. You are probably related to him. You might be friends with him. Maybe… you used to be him.
So, what’s Johnny’s problem? Besides being annoying as hell.
Johnny Knowitall is weak.
Johnny Knowitall is always the exception to his own advice.
Take my advice, trust me. Well yeah, it doesn’t work for me cause of my ______ (age, genetics, family, religion, or any other BS excuse).
Fortune Favors Strength
I’ve said it before, but I’ll repeat it here:
Life is not easy. Only the strong will thrive.
Surviving is for cowards. Getting by is for the lazy.
Learning, without doing, is for the weak.
It’s one thing to know how to do something, and it’s another thing to actually do it.
All of the knowledge in the world means nothing if you don’t put it into action.
Knowledge gives the illusion of experience. Understanding someone else’s achievements gives a false sense of accomplishment.
We want to unravel the mystery behind a person’s success.
Because if we only understood how they did it, we could repeat it.
There are two problems with that:
- Another person’s path can’t be repeated identically
- Having the answers makes us less inclined to take action
That person didn’t reach success because they started with those answers first. They reached success because of the transformation that happened while they were working to find those answers.
Do what successful people do, not what they say.
Learning and studying present a set of challenges, sure.
But doing is more painful.
Books sharpen the mind. Practice strengthens the mind. You need both.
The Learning Crutch
Paralysis by analysis – possibly the most common form of procrastination.
It’s so easy to put off taking action in favor of research and planning.
And sometimes we genuinely don’t know enough or aren’t prepared enough. But usually, we don’t do enough.
Procrastination is rooted in fear.
Fear of failure. Fear of pain. Fear of struggle. Fear of looking stupid.
All side effects of a weak mind.
So we let our mind limp on, with learning as the crutch that keeps us hobbling forward.
The most telling insight towards a person’s mental strength is revealed in their action. Or lack of action.
Every living human has the same innate fears.
Only the strong are willing to go to war with their fears.
Only the weak believe they can outsmart their fears by learning more.
Some of the greatest minds the world will never know are squandered by people who refuse to put that knowledge to use.
True power is realized when knowledge is put into action.
How to Take Action
Well, the simple answer is obvious – you just do it.
Ultimately it comes down to you be willing to enter the arena and risk receiving some boo-boos.
But I do have some tips that can help you create the habit of taking action.
1. Maintain a 3 to 1 ratio of practice to study
That’s bare minimum.
Really it should be more like 5-10 to 1 early on and 20-30 to 1 as you reach higher levels. But it depends on what exactly you are trying to do. And it’s always better to start small and build momentum.
That means for every 1 hour of studying/planning, you should actually practice/do that thing for at least 3 hours.
Having the ability to learn efficiently is a powerful skill. But experience will always be the best teacher.
If you aren’t maintaining, AT LEAST, a 3 to 1 ratio of practice to study you’re procrastinating.
2. Take one step at a time
Let’s say you need to learn how to do 5 things to accomplish a goal.
We have a tendency to dive in and try to do it all at once.
And I’d be lying if I said that can’t work. Because I’ve done it before.
But for most people, most of the time, that won’t work.
Instead, refine your focus to laser precision.
Study task #1 for an hour. Practice task #1 for 3-10 hours. Make notes of where you need to learn more to improve. Repeat until you are above average. Then move on to task #2.
It really is as simple as it sounds. But that doesn’t mean it will be easy.
Knowledge transforms complexity into simplicity. Practice makes difficult tasks easy over time.
The difference is subtle, but significant.
3. Make progress daily
Habits are created through repetition. Forming a new habit of taking action will require daily repetition.
If you can do one thing every day that brings you closer to your goal, you will make progress over time. Committing to only one thing isn’t very difficult.
I’m not saying that you have to do this for the rest of your life. Eventually you will be able to skip a day or two without throwing you off track. But I recommend you commit to taking daily action until you have built a strong foundation of experience.
How long will that take?
However long it takes you. What difference does it make? You either want to accomplish it or not.
You’ll either engage the Obsession Throttle and get there quickly, or you’ll procrastinate and work at a snail’s pace.
Actions speak louder than words.
What are you communicating to your friends, colleagues, and loved ones?
More importantly, what are you communicating to yourself?
Without taking action, you will forever be doomed to learning from others.
Living vicariously through the life of someone else.
Sitting in the passenger seat.
By taking action, you take control of your destiny.
You will not only learn more, but you will be able to teach others.
You write your own story.
Don’t be afraid to get behind the wheel, even if the road ahead looks long and bumpy.
Until Next Time,
99 Habits For Those Who Want it All
This FREE guide includes 99 action steps to get in shape, feel excited to start the day, and accomplish more in less time!
What do you think? Do you agree, disagree or have any thoughts to add? Let me know in the comments below.
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