We’ve all heard that knowledge is power, right? I agree with this, but only to an extent. When can knowledge slow your progression? Is that even possible, you ask?
I recently attended and presented at a conference with 130+ other entrepreneurs in Jamaica. There, I heard of a concept from John Chow that intrigued me that I wanted to expound on. In his blog post entitled “Stop Learning Internet Marketing” he explains how many of us get stuck in “perpetual learning mode”--we get too caught up in learning, researching and gathering information, that we never get to the actual “doing” of a business startup.
This resonated with me. I think it’s so easy to get caught up in the cycle of learning. After all, you want to be the BEST by the time you actually start your business, right? This way of thinking could essentially freeze you in information overload. John suggests starting with the first step, then deciding what you need to do for the next, then do it, and so on. Allow experience, not knowledge, to be your best teacher. Success or fail, the second you take action is when your actual learning begins--not through reading other’s musings.
Imagine a baby learning to walk. Does she sit back, watching those around her, taking it all in for a few years, calculating in her mind exactly how one goes about coordinating their legs, willing them to propel themselves forward? No. Even a baby knows the right time to start walking and it usually is as soon as her legs are strong enough. She starts with one step, receives the reward for that (cheering, happy smiles, hugs from a parent), then tries perhaps two steps, adding onto the first. But in no way will she be perfect at it from the start. In fact, she may fall. A lot. However, it doesn’t discourage her from getting back up and taking another step. Before she knows it, she will not only be walking, but running to her next goal.
So it is in business. If you will put what you already know into action, taking that first step right away, a reward may just be waiting on the other side of it. Sure, you will fall. Motivational speaker, Steve Chandler, said, “Do it badly; do it slowly; do it fearfully; do it any way you have to, but do it.” Falling is also part of learning. Don’t get distracted by the learning and get more to the doing. Pretty soon you will start seeing the rewards of your efforts, hopefully in the form of dollar signs.
What good is knowledge without implementation? According to a 1989 study done by Florida State University, people will forget 40% of what they learn in 20 min., 77% in six days and nearly 90% in 30 days. Implementing what you learn is key to retention, and therefore success. Step over that wall of fear, yes fear, and take that first step.
“To fight fear, act. To increase fear – wait, put off, postpone.” -David Joseph Schwart
So you say, “That’s great Mike, I’ve taken the first step, but now what?” No matter what, stay in action mode, my friend. It is easy to slip back into the dark abyss of podcasts, YouTube videos, Facebook and blog posts, which can often facilitate procrastination.
A good rule of thumb is to stay in active mode for at least 6 hours a day. If you do, you’ll be amazed at how much you will accomplish. This can be as easy as setting a timer, 40 minutes of focused work then 10 min off to take a drink, stand and move around, talk to someone, etc. Then get back to another 40-min stretch of focusing and DOING. A larger task won’t seem as overwhelming if it is broken up into smaller chunks. Several 40-min sessions may lead to a major project completed in much less time than had you tried to “study it out” first.
I love what Mark Twain has said: “The secret to getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”
You might be asking yourself, “If knowledge is not power, then what is power?” Power comes from the action you take. Knowledge can inform your action, but knowledge without action will never be power.
So, what are you waiting for. Get to it!
Let Me Know: What rewards have come from turning your learning into practice?