Critical to the way you use your time is the amount of skills you are able to call on to process free time into meaningful endeavours. When all you know how to do is play on that shiny console your free time options are severely limited. So how do we start adding to our skill set? Where to start, where to end?
What is Know What You Don’t Know?
Know what you don’t know is a systematic process of working backward from a desired goal or skill detailing the knowledge you need to get from your current level of knowledge.
Why use Know What You Don’t Know?
The frustration caused by how vast a topic can seems when looking at it as a whole is often the reason used for giving up or worse still not trying. I know the first time I tried to teach myself guitar I fell into this trap. I knew what a guitar should sound like, so I went out and bought one along with a song book. For a week I suffered as I sat, for hours whacking at different bits of the book unsuccessfully. A month later a string broke and I never played that guitar again, eventually selling it when I got a good offer for it. I failed. I know now though that it had nothing to do with how hard the guitar is to learn but had everything to do with me not having any clue what I needed to know and in what order I needed to learn it.
Know What You Don’t Know is for me the simplest way to learn a new skill, it’s simply a matter of at a very high level figuring out what is involved in learning your new skill. This is really important in order to acquire a well rounded study program as well. I often find that I tend to spend more time on the excercises I enjoy rather than the ones that I need to work on. This well rounded approach has tons of knock on benefits as well. As an example the second time I tried to learn to play the guitar I faired a lot better until I got a stuck with a couple of barre chords. Try as I might I did not have the dexterity to hold the chord and produce a clear crisp sound.
At first I kept at it trying over and over and it didn’t help. I think it actually got worse as I started to get frustrated and lose my cool. Having knowledge of all the things I needed to learn I kept on practicing in all the areas I knew I had to learn. A week later I could play the barre chords easily. As it happens I just didn’t have the strength when I started. What was critical here was the fact that I knew that that barre chord was the be all and end all of my guitar career and I was able to focus on other areas of my playing which ultimately built my skill and dexterity to the point where I succeeded. I have no doubt that it would have taken me twice as long or longer to master that had I kept at only that.
Know What You Don’t Know gives you confidence and direction and keeps you working toward your goal.
If this sounds good to you my next post will be a practical example of how to use Know What You Don’t Know to learn anything.
How to use know what you don’t know a practical example.
Are these three words ruining your life an interesting discussion about the psychology of failure/success by Jonathan Mead on the Zen Habits blog
The last week has been a reminder to me on the price to be paid when we retreat to the safety of our minds. Any form of success can easily make us forget the reason we took part. I spent the last two weeks not doing what I love, writing, teaching and learning, allowing myself to be controlled by expectations. Having had a few good weeks on myDL I’m struggling to write. Even though the success has been very moderate I’m suddenly finding myself quitting in the middle of posts and shooting down more ideas than ever paying the price for pursuing perfection. It’s not enough to find your passion! you need to find a way to keep it yours too!
Re-connect with your passion
Connect to the original reason you found your passion often. Go back to the reason you started. Whether your passion makes you $1 a year or $100 a day you when you started you started because you connected deeply with it. Connect with that feeling often. Remember all the reasons why you’d gladly do what you’re doing for free. Remember that some time good enough is good enough, the price of perfection is high when you let it stop you producing.
Study how the professionals progressed
Research heroes of your field and look how they progressed. Even the most gifted of gifted athletes and writers knocked their head once or twice. They didn’t start out perfect but they always had passion. No one is born able to do it all. Read about how they did it. Study their mindset. Model their strategies. Use their tactics. Have a good old laugh at the mistakes that they made. When you’re done, have a quick chuckle at your own expense 10 years from now someone will be laughing at how you knocked your head and you won’t care when you’ve made it. Passion will fuel you when you know that you won’t be perfect, but that you’re doing the right things. The price of perfection is less time spent learning.
Change your mindset about failure
Change your mind about failure. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to make plenty. Live with it. This is not permission for you to fail! This is permission to make mistakes. Put together a system and incorporate an element of quality checking before you complete. Systems are often passion killers, use your system to channel your energy to the parts of this blogging lark you’re most passionate about. When I write I now complete my outline, knock out my first draft. I then revise the piece while also checking for glaring spelling and punctuation mistakes then I revise again at least 12 hours later. When I just started out I found I still missed a glut of errors. I should have been checking more until my error margin was acceptable. At the moment I still miss the odd mistake but if I do I fix it and move on I still trust my system. You should do the same set up a system and stick to it as long your success rate is within acceptable limits. The price of perfection is going to be a heart attack if you don’t have trusted system to handle the areas of your blogging which you struggle most with.
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