Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time there was a young man called George. He came from a loving home with two great parents. His mother cherished him and valued taking care of him, seeing it as central to her natural nurturing role. His father was always supportive, cheering him on with his endeavours and being there for him when things got tough. George did reasonably well at college, secured a comfortable role in a local business looking after their IT systems and helping the staff that struggled with some of the complexities of software that he found he had a natural flair for.
Each morning he’d get up, shower and get ready while his mother busied herself in the kitchen setting him up with a good breakfast, making sure he had a clean shirt for the day.
Life was good.
Time passed and George felt he needed to branch out on his own. He loved living at home but his friends seemed to be progressing further into the responsibilities of adulthood, making plans with partners and setting up their own homes.
With some trepidation he told his parents it was time for him to move out. His parents seemed pleased for him, not sad as he had anticipated. For a few moments he wondered whether they were putting on a brave face, especially as his dad rushed off to get some packing boxes from the garage.
George found himself a lovely little apartment a few miles from his parents and close to work. His parents helped him move in, contributing some items to ease the burden of furnishing the place. As the landlord had not provided a washing machine George’s parents decided to buy him one as a moving in gift.
George was delighted with the machine. It had many settings to cater for his needs. The salesman had explained that he could save water with one setting, minimise creases with another and get that extra whiteness for his shirts with another. As George prided himself on his appearance he looked forward to using the machine to greatest benefit, keeping himself looking tip-top and showing his mother that he could manage this by himself.
The end of the week came and George got ready for his first week’s laundry. He felt a little nervous as he’d never done his own washing before and he didn’t want to mess it up. Before George did his first wash he read the manual. The instructions were quite basic so he decided to see if their were any videos online. He found some videos that helped with troubleshooting problems and there were even some that taught him how to fix some of the mechanical and even technical problems that may occur. Because George enjoyed technology he found this fascinating.
George wondered if all machines were as good as his and whether other machines’ manuals may give more useful information to enhance his wash results. He printed off and read through other machine manuals. His thoughts turned to the detergents. What would give the best results? Should he use a powder or liquid?
George pondered all this. He wanted to get the best out of the machine. He was determined to get this right; to have the whitest whites just like his mother had done for him. So he decided to sleep on it.
The next day he spoke to his mother. She talked through what she used. Her advice was just to follow what she did – she told him to just get on with it. George wasn’t convinced. What if his results were different? What if he made a mistake and his shirts came out grey? All this was starting to confuse George and give him a headache. He decided an early night may be the best thing.
Monday morning George got up. Panic set in – no clean shirt. He had no alternative but to wear the cleanest of the dirty ones.
What a disaster George thought to himself (he was a bit melodramatic).
Time to Stop Learning
Yes, all this may seem a bit silly but consider if there are any goals you’ve set yourself and then hidden behind research or learning to keep putting it off. I confess I know I do. Learning makes us feel virtuous. We believe the more we know the better will be the result.
I’m not saying learning is wrong. It is about the right level and amount at the right time.
Perhaps you have decided this year will be the year you set up a secondary business or change your career. You know the area of business you want to work in and are feeling determined. You research a course and sign up for it. Half way through you come to the bit about approaching companies. You hate selling. So you stop, research a little more and find other courses on a similar theme and then start again. No action taken.
And then there is the self-doubt that helps you find reasons to stop or change track: This won’t work for me. I’ll never be as good as other people. Will this method work? Is this information genuine? Is it relevant to me?
This is time to ask yourself are these questions just excuses or genuine?
Learning to Stop Learning!
Sometimes we need to be tough on ourselves. Look at your goals and consider if you are procrastinating to avoid taking those steps you’re scared of. Learning is important to help you meet your goals but it should be a tool and not become a self placed obstacle to progress.
Before you start on that next course or buy into that next method ask yourself if you are likely to have most of the skills and learning required for your next steps. If so, why not have faith in yourself and dive in? You may make some mistakes and take a little longer but often this learning is more valid than a passive lesson. We never stop learning it just may be the lesson format that changes!