How to Learn What You Need to Know
When seeking to learn (much less become an expert in) anything, it’s important to realize it’s not going to happen overnight. You’re going to have to do your time like everyone else—learning, building, and becoming the expert that you want to become. Don’t let that scare you. Before you know it, you’ll be at the top of that hill and you’ll never look back.
I just finished participating in Traffic & Conversion 2019 in sunny San Diego (America’s Finest City). I was staying with my daughter and each day I would walk the trails through Balboa Park (see the pic above) on my way to the Marriott Marquis. Fortunately for me, others had walked that trail before me and marked a path I could follow. Then Google mapped those trails for me. Could I have gotten there without following any trails or maps? Maybe. But why do things the hard way when the easy way was right in front of me (and so easy)?
When you need to know (or master) something, why not do things the easy way?
When I was at the conference (which was amazing), I felt like I was drinking from a firehose—so much great information, and so many things to learn. How to get started with all that learning? Here’s my plan:
My first and most important recommendation is: prioritize. When you’re in learning/growing mode, there can be a million things to learn. Not-so-fun-fact: you can’t learn a million things, at least all at once. You need to pick your highest priority, your most pressing need or desire, and go after that. Once you’ve got that down, go on to the next one. So many people I know flit from one topic to the next without ever getting what they really need. You may not need to be a master at anything, but you should invest enough time and energy to get what you need before you move on to the next thing.
There are likely books and opinions out there already on your topic. It’s important to read and soak in a variety of ideas from those who are already experts. Knowing the prevailing wisdom and how it came to be will help you on your learning journey, and will also help you form your own thoughts and opinions.
As you are learning from other experts, you’ll want to implement what you’ve learned. Learning is so much easier if you do what you’re learning. Put into practice the theories you’re learning about. Test out some of your own ideas, see what works and what doesn’t work. This is critical if you’re going to go from knowing about something to being able to use the information you know. As Tony Robbins says, “Knowledge isn’t power. It’s potential power.” Doing what you’re learning is true power.
Join Mastermind Groups
A mastermind group usually consists of a leader who is an expert in a particular area. You don’t have to join a group that is in your niche; instead join a group that is designed to help you learn what you’re trying to learn. For example, if you need to learn more about public speaking to help promote your ideas, join a public speaking mastermind group. I have a friend named Walt who has joined various masterminds to deep-dive into topics he feels will help him with his business. You should consider doing the same.
Today you don’t have to even leave your house to take courses to learn the things you want to know. You can take both accredited and unaccredited courses to become an expert. Check out Lynda.com , Khan Academy, or Coursera.com. They’re not accredited, but you probably don’t need college credit—you just need to get what you need. The important thing is that you learn what you need to learn in a manner that enables you to learn a topic quickly.
While you’re involved with learning it can be easy to be distracted from your mission. Your mission is to learn what you need about a particular topic and niche, not to become the best in the world. So don’t lose sight of your end goal just because you find learning something exciting— stay the course.
Hire a Coach
For some people, hiring a coach that can help them stay focused on doing what they set out to do can be helpful. The coach doesn’t have to be an expert in the area you want expertise in either. Instead they should be an expert in helping people reach their goals, whatever they are.
You’ve heard your mom say it, “Practice makes perfect” and it’s mostly true. The more you practice something and gain experience in something, the more likely you are to learn what you need to know and maybe even become an expert. Use it or lose it is trite but true.
Don’t Give Up
It’s important to persevere and not give up. You may not learn as quickly as you’d like. You may become an actual expert before people recognize your expertise. Just keep going. Keep learning and it will happen. One step at a time and you’ll eventually get where you want to go.
As you embark on your learning journey, there will be roadblocks and speed bumps along the way. The truth is, you can overcome all of them with perseverance, focus, and an effective strategy.
In the comments below, feel free to share what you’re learning, or what you’d like to learn. And if you’re wondering if I can help you get where you want to go, the answer is—I don’t know. But I’d be happy to talk with you about it. Feel free to email me ron [at] rontester.com.