I remember the first time I tried to go skiing. I was with my friend Amy, up in the Vermont Mountains on the Eastern side of the USA. It was icy. My nostril hairs were frozen, my hands were pink and I really didn’t see how people found the experience “fun”.
What was even worse was that Amy knew how to ski. Her family had had a ski holiday in Europe a few years back and she had learned at least the fundamental basics. “I’ll teach you,” she said. “It’s easy!” She took me up one of the slopes and we stood at the top of that long icy downhill and I was terrified. “Just do this!” she whisked down the mountain and stopped a few metres from me. I took a hesitant step forward and fell nose first into the icy snow. “Oops!”
We tried again and I fell again. Clearly going up a mountain without any idea how to get down it wasn’t a good plan. The experience made me very nervous about skiing and it was a good few days before I was willing to try it again. When I did, I got an instructor, started at the bottom and graduated my way up the slope. Once I had the skills and confidence I found I was fine to navigate it. Yay!
Acquire a skill base
We’ve all been told to chase our dreams and don’t do a job you hate and you were born to do it or go for gold. These things are true but they negate the learning curve which needs to take place in order for you to become CEO of your company or a world-famous sports player. Anyone who wants to be good at something needs to take the time out in their everyday life to keep growing their skills and learn more. At least 5 hours a week is the recommended amount.
Leaders are readers. Mark Zuckerberg reads 1 book every 2 weeks. Mark Cuban reads more than 2 hours a day. Bill Gates reads 50 books a year. Reading expands your skills base like non other. It’s the best way to access lots of quality knowledge on a subject and grow at what you do.
How can you make things better? Where in your life do you need to improve? What is the next step? What good ideas do you have to move things forward? If you don’t spend time reflecting then your life ends up looking the same and never improving. Take a step back and ask yourself: what do I want and want can I do to take me one step closer.
Learning is no good if you don’t apply it and try. If I had learned all about skiing but I hadn’t been willing to get out there and go on the slope then it would have been one big futile exercise. Once you have obtained the knowledge you need to go out there and do something with it. Apply it. Try something new.
You’ll find that your 5 hours a week made a big difference. These 5 hours make the other hours more focused, intentional and productive. These 5 hours expand your brain and your thinking. They allow you to rise above others in your niche and stand above the competition.
We should look at learning like we look at exercise
We always think that for a healthy life we need to eat our greens and go to gym. We do! But what about our brain. A healthy life requires an active brain which is constantly learning and growing.
You don’t need to have all the skills upfront for your dream, rather instead of jumping into the deep end (like I did with skiing) take a long-term approach. Put in the time to learn and grow your skill base and you’ll find you’re a pro in (almost) no time.