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An education is priceless; it gives you the skills necessary to progress in life and in business, from keeping your finances straight to effectively running your social media. But if you don’t currently have the finances to invest in continuing your education, learning how to develop your self-education skills are key. Getting into a learning mindset is pivotal for any budding businessperson. It’s dangerous to think that you know everything, and it’s far better for you and your business to view yourself as a work in progress. So, if you are keen on developing yourself in one way or another, either for your benefit or for the business, here some fundamentals to keep in mind.
Studying is a very dangerous concept for many because it forms blockages in the mind. If you view self-development and learning as sitting down at a desk, opening a massive encyclopedia, and not getting up until you’ve done X amount of hours, you’re setting yourself up for failure. A lot of people didn’t enjoy school, and arguably, you became an entrepreneur, because, in your youth, you thought outside of the box, which contradicts most common educational formats. As a result, you might have been different, or you might not have been academically minded, no matter how much you applied yourself. Don’t view educating yourself as a long, difficult walk, because you won’t learn anything.
Instead of viewing the act of educating yourself as setting aside a certain amount of time to sit down and study, it’s far more beneficial to get, firstly, an idea of how you best learn, and secondly, get into that frame of mind where are you want to understand why something works. If you tell yourself, “right, I need to pay attention to this” you’re not actively focused on the task itself. Instead of forcing yourself to pay attention to something, let it come naturally. This is why understanding how you best learn is an invaluable tool. You might not learn things properly by sitting down and reading, but rather, have someone explain it to you. You might need to think out loud to get an understanding of how something works, but don’t go against your instincts. And while there are so many learning materials around, you can glean information from any resource. Learning isn’t just about the information from a book, it’s about learning by doing, and by living.
You learn best by making mistakes. But we all fear to make mistakes, and as a result, we can stumble through situations blindly. In business, it can be argued that time is money, so there’s no room for mistakes, but when you are pursuing your own education, failure is unable to be avoided. And in business, failure is most definitely an inevitability. So why are you so scared of failure? Instead, it’s far better to have tried and failed. Try better, fail better. It’s the only way we all learn something properly. Those big lessons in life are what sticks.
In many ways, we are spoiled for choice now. Going back 20 or 30 years, the internet wasn’t used as a way to get information. You would seek out your own education by going through various books and recommendations, but also by doing. If you want to learn how to build a house, build one! The internet is a wonderful tool if you use it right! And for all of the amazing information you can find online, there are also resources that are questionable. When learning the ropes, and forging your own education, it’s much better for you to trust your instincts and decide if a specific resource is worth your time and effort. 20 years ago, you would pick up a book, and see if it spoke to you. If it didn’t, you would simply find another one. You can do this when trying to round out your self-education. There are online courses now, which is great because you don’t have to go to a class, which gives you so much more time to develop yourself. In business, there are so many different courses to take advantage of, in each small sector, you can participate in a supply chain management program online to give you the relevant knowledge you need of that specific sector. With so many accredited courses available online, you can develop your knowledge in whatever spare time you have. If you are still at the outset of developing your business, and money is an issue, it’s at this point where you need to make the most of who you know, not just what you know. This is where the internet is great, on sites like LinkedIn, you can get advice from people who have been there and done that. The internet is a fantastic communication tool, and when you are developing your own education, it’s something you have to make the most of. But it’s important to choose your resources wisely when scouring the internet for information.
There are those people who have their finger in every pie, and you might look at them with a little bit of jealousy. Do you wish you were like that? The solution is very simple: expand your interests. For people who are looking to develop themselves, an active interest is what fuels their enthusiasm. Elon Musk is someone who seems to have an interest in almost everything, but it’s that unwavering enthusiasm that is providing him with that focus, not a desire to make money. This is something that many business people can become confused with at some point in their journey. Instead of focusing on business as a way to earn a pretty penny, emotions and feelings are the overriding aspects of starting a business and pushing it into new and exciting territories. You started a business in a specific area because you knew something about it, in other words, you had a passion for it. It’s exactly the same thing when it comes to learning. Look for what sparks your imagination, because it’s these things that you will soak up like a sponge. We can spend years, or decades even, going down the wrong business route, and the reason is, usually, because our priorities weren’t set in stone. No doubt, a desire to make money overtook everything else. So look around you, and see what intrigues you in life, and makes you question why something is the way it is. It’s these instances that will help you to develop your own knowledge and skillset and become, not just a better entrepreneur, but a better person.
We start out in life trying to emulate our heroes. When it comes to developing any sense of knowledge, this is actually a great place to begin. Once you look at your heroes, burrow beneath the surface and see what made them tick, you can integrate this knowledge into your own practices. Developing your own self-education can be done in so many different ways, but in order for it to be effective; you have to overcome your own personal barriers within yourself. There’s a wealth of information out there, but it depends on how you take it onboard. This is the key to developing yourself in every aspect of life, not just in business.
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