I listened to a podcast from Impact Theory, where Tom was talking to Noah Kagan from AppSumo. Two very smart people having a long conversation on corona, business and dealing with uncertainty.
One of the most interesting parts for me was about learning. Tom is a tenacious learner and can add whatever he wants to his skill set – through crazy discipline.
Noah seeks to structure his learning around what works for him – using apps, to-do lists and 1:1 tutoring (he’s learning Hebrew right now). And he said something around the topic of achievement – around business or learning – that inspired me.
If you know what you want, it’a easy to get what you want.Noah Kagan
Sounds a bit simplistic, but there’s a truth to it, and Noah follows up saying that most people don’t know what they want in life. So first step in achieving success, if that’s the goal, is to get clarity around what you want.
Arnold S. said it too. “You have to have a vision.” And yes, we’ve heard it a million times, but still we don’t put in the dedicated time to think about and write down our number goals.
A goal can change over time, so the task is not to find that one goal to guide you throughout your life. If you’re able to formulate such a strong and long-lasting goal, great, but know that goals can and do change.
I got to think about what my goal is right now. The simple answer is “make enough money to be financially independent.” But that’s a very vague goal. And it’s guilty of another thing, Noah said in the podcast:
Every time I’ve just been chasing the dollar, I’ve flamed out.”Noah Kagan
When the goal is just to make more money, Noah’s motivation has flamed out over time. It’s simply not enough to go for the money. At some point, you’ll find yourself “emotionally bankrupt”, as Tom Bilyeu puts it.
So, now I threw myself on the bed and looked up in the ceiling – once again thinking long and hard about the goals, I have for myself. Time and time again, the idea of freedom comes to mind, when I think of what I value the most.
But my motivation can’t just be freedom. Freedom is the result of something else, I’m chasing. And that thing for me has to be “learning the new”. Learning is the red thread that strings my life together, when I look back.
And in particular, the joy and excitement around the first hours of diving into a new area has always blown my mind. Just enough to get the hang of it, then going out and using it for something. It begins to have utility.
Playing guitar, I went home from every class with the feeling of having become twice as good as yesterday. Now, a whole new genre or style of music had opened up for me. And I couldn’t get home fast enough in order to practice what I had just learned.
Sailing a boat, I don’t really know much about. All I know is how to start the engine, untie the ropes and steer clear of other boats. But still, with this limited knowledge, I’ve had the most amazing trips on the water with my girlfriend.
Filming with a DSLR camera, I’m still a total beginner at. But the first few hours of playing around with it and watching tutorials on Youtube has put me in a place where I can start to produce beautiful footage and create video content for my own projects.
All this goes to say that with just a little bit of effort put into learning something new, you can get to a level where you are decent enough to put your new knowledge into practice. For a skill to have utility, it doesn’t have to be mastered at all.
10.000 hours, right? That’s what you need to put in for you to enter the top 1% in the World at that skill. But what if you only put in 10 hours? I’ll claim that you’ll already be in the top 40% – compared to everyone around you.
My bad video skills have had amazing utility in previous jobs, because few others knew how to work a camera, set up lights and record good audio. I did, with my limited knowledge, and thus I became “the video guy” in this context.
My goal is revolving around my excitement around the first hours of learning. The ecstasy moments when you make 10x progress from what you knew yesterday. The feeling of having opened up a new world that you don’t fear anymore, because you got a foot in the door.
Passing on this feeling. Teaching people how to crack open the nut and start learning a new skill. That’s what I want to pass on. Promote the early hours of learning. Fight the idea of expertise, which is not necessary in order to experience fulfilment and reaching utility.
My first goal is to upload my knowledge around explainer video production to the internet. From my brain, I’ll upload what I learned in my agency days – as video courses for people to take online. Then, my goal will switch to a meta-goal of formulating how I’ve learned. My approach to learning, which has the working title “Imitation Learning”.
There’s nothing scientific about it. It’s just the process that I’ve unconsciously applied when learning guitar, sailing, filming, motorbiking, graphic design etc. Imitating something or someone to the extent where I would be guilty of copying, stealing and duplicating.
All it’s supposed to do is to take out the fear of getting started with learning something new. I want to enable “Dorothy, 55” to approach a new skill and become good enough to raise her hand at work and say “I actually know how to do that.”
Long live the generalists. The learners. The curious ones who don’t believe in a one-dimensional profile, and effortlessly move into unknown land like it is was nothing.
I’m going to help up-skill ‘the common man’ by offering a framework for how to become top 40% at any creative skill by putting in 10 hours of focused imitation learning. That’s my goal.