Have you ever thought about how you have learned some of the most important lessons in your life? It has not been from someone simply telling you something. Rather, it has been when you have done something yourself. When you actually get involved in a process by doing something, you create a much faster learning curve. Perhaps an illustration will help.
If I wanted to teach you how to drive a car, I could give you the history of automobiles and tell you everything you would ever need to know about how a car operates and functions. You could consume all the information that is in the owner’s manual booklet in the glove box of the vehicle. However, if you really wanted to learn how to drive, you would still need to get behind the wheel and do it for yourself. That is when you would begin to actually learn. You can never really know something until you have experienced it on a personal level.
I have never been much of a golfer, but my son-in-law, Tim, has spent hours giving me tips and helping me understand little things about golf that cause the game to become much more enjoyable. I could watch it on TV or see someone else play it, and Tim could have explained it to me all day long, but it was not until I started playing for myself that I truly began to learn the game.
These are simple illustrations and examples, yet I find that many people are not willing to try to gain knowledge for themselves when it comes to their marriage, raising their children, learning about money, getting involved in good investments, creating a better life for themselves, growing their business, developing their personal health, learning spiritual information or any number of other things. Reading books alone will not cause us to understand the information for ourselves. It will only be when we actually apply, use and experiment with it that we will truly learn. As Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living!”
Now do not get me wrong. I want to make it clear that it is possible to learn some things when we absorb information that someone else teaches us. However, the pace of the entire process changes and accelerates when we actually begin to practice what we are trying to learn. It is often frustrating when we do not know how to do something. But no one knows how to do something when they first begin. I love what Zig Ziglar says, “Anything in life worth doing at all is worth doing poorly until you learn how to do it well!” Zig was simply saying that no one is an expert at something when they first start out. In the beginning we may learn very slowly, but as time passes, we become proficient at our task through practice. Simply stated, every master was once a disaster!
I once had a friend who wanted to learn how to sew. When she first started, she could barely do it and she was very frustrated because her mother was an expert seamstress. When she learned the concept that anything worth doing at all was worth doing poorly until you learn to do it well, that gave her the freedom to stumble along until she was able to get better and faster at what she was trying to accomplish. Today she is an expert seamstress!
This week, cut yourself a little slack and realize the reason you may be moving so slowly is because you are trying to do something based on information alone. Take a lesson from this Tip and start practicing what you want to learn, even if you make a lot of mistakes along the way, and watch as you gain momentum in all that you do.
Tip: Learning by experience is better than learning by information alone.
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm