Have you ever thought about how you have learned the most important lessons in your life? It has not been from someone simply telling you something. Rather, it has been taking good information and doing something with it yourself. You create a much faster learning curve when you actually get involved in the process by doing something yourself. 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 in the owner’s manual booklet that could possibly be in the vehicle’s glove box or see the owner’s manual online. And all that is good! However, if you really wanted to learn how to drive, you would still need to get behind the wheel and do it yourself. That is when you would begin to learn to really drive a car.
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, but it was not until I started practicing what Tim taught me that I truly began learning the game. And I am still not very good!
These are simple illustrations and examples, yet I find that many people are unwilling to try to gain knowledge for themselves regarding their own lives. If you need guidance, getting help along the way is okay, like I did with Tim! Here are some areas to consider: in marriage (do you have a married couple mentor?), raising children (do you have a child-rearing mentor?), learning about money (do you have a financial mentor?), getting involved in good investments, (do you have an investment mentor?), creating a better life for themselves (do you have a life coach?), growing a business (do you have a business mentor?), developing their personal health (do you have a health coach or mentor?), learning spiritual information (do you have a spiritual mentor?), 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 apply good information that someone taught us from their own personal experience that we began to learn how something truly works. 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 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 said, “Anything in life worth doing at all is worth doing poorly until you learn how to do it well!” Zig simply said that no one is an expert at something when they start. We may learn very slowly in the beginning, but as time passes, we become proficient at our different tasks through practice. Simply stated, “Every master was once a disaster!”
I know someone 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. She heard Zig make the statement, “Anything in life worth doing at all is worth doing poorly until you learn how to do it well!” That one concept gave her the freedom to “stumble along” until she could 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 you may be moving so slowly 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, you will gain momentum as you learn and grow 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