The other day I had a great conversation with Marvin Liao, Partner at 500 Startups, on my podcast (listen to it here). He taught me a lot of very valuable lessons. One of them is so quotable that I had to use it as a headline for this post. It really stuck with me.
The advice he gave is that we all need to learn how to enjoy learning. It's so damn true.
But I would go even further than this. I think we have to learn to give ourselves the permission to learn first.
These days we're all trying to look super busy and try to appear as efficient as possible. We're all afraid of doing something wrong. Of losing our jobs. Of not being able to pay the bills anymore.
And that's why we basically stopped learning new things. Most of us. I also struggle with it.
It's just that learning something new is so damn inefficient.
First you have to learn it. Then you have to apply it. Then you mostly fail at applying it. Then you have to think about what went wrong. And then you have to start all over again.
Even more importantly, it makes us look not busy. In front of our bosses. Our colleagues. In front of everybody..
And only after a very long period of time might we be able to master something new. If we'll ever be able to push through the constant ups and downs of learning something new. It's just not worth it..
So we stick to the things we already know. Instead of learning new skills, we try to improve the one or two skills we have over and over again until we stretch ourselves too thin and we can't handle all the stress and optimization anymore.
It really is a vicious circle.
We know that to be able to survive in this fast paced world, in an ever changing environment, we have to be flexible, we have to learn new skills and we have to be fast learners or we'll become obsolete. Sooner, rather than later. This puts additional pressure on us. On all of us.
“What do you mean you want to learn something new? Don't you have enough work to do?”, might be something our bosses, our colleagues or our friends will say. Some of your friends might even think that you've gone crazy. Why would you want to learn something new?
But in reality that's the only thing that might help you to succeed in the fast paced world we live in today. To not become obsolete.
Today, you have to be willing to learn new things. You have to be a fast learner.
And to become a fast learner you have to first give yourself the permission to learn something new.
And then you need to learn how to enjoy learning..
[Related: I stopped giving a shit a long time ago]