The Most Painful Way to Becoming a Proficient Professional in Your Vertical
“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.”
— Niels Bohr
“You’ll leave this class with your knowledge, not mine. Your employer will known within two weeks everything you’ve learned.”
— Mike Pierce
Admit it or not, you dislike learning new stuff. After all, you aren’t paid to learn; you’re paid to solve problems. If there are two problems and you know how to fix one, which are you going to tackle?
Becoming a professional is painful. It’s painful to admit that you can’t build a career with your current knowledge base, that you have to learn new stuff.
The most painful way? Books.
I don’t know about you, but taking home a book from the bookstore to learn something — that might be the fastest way to learn something if you were in a real hurry, but it is by far not the most motivating way. — Kevin Yank
Learning from a book is much faster than attending university or other socially-responsive courses. With a book, you are alone in a chair. You open the book. You read. You learn. After an hour, you know an hour’s worth of knowledge. That’s powerful, but that’s not how people prefer to learn.
Instead, they choose the learn visually and orally with others. The social experience. The down time. The wasted moments of chatter. The little inside secrets. The culture. The jazz.
They plan activities and complete the most bizarre assignments. They write papers on the craziest stuff you’ve ever seen. In fact, you see things in this environment that you would never see in a for-profit business. Everyone is disconnected to reality.
It’s easy to look at this situation and conclude that the book is the best way to learn.
Some do, which is why they drop out of University.
Some stay, because they need the formal training to maintain their sanity.
Still others cannot make up their mind, which is why they write articles like this one.
There’s a reason Clay Collins dropped out of college once and graduate school twice. The grass always looks greener on the other side. That’s why Dennis Crowley built the original FourSquare app using nothing but self-taught PHP and MySQL straight from a book.
Everyone is running in opposite directions guessing where the ball will land. Someone’s going to catch it.