I’ve always been a great believer in education and personal development. So why on earth would I urge you to stop learning?
Let me tell you a story. This could a George or a Georgina. It is not important.
George is a young man. He comes from a loving home with two great parents. His mother cherishes him and values taking care of him, seeing it as central to her natural nurturing role. His father is 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 his home life 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 when his dad rushed from the room to the garage to get some packing boxes.
So 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 thought the machine was great as far as you can get excited about a washing 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 laundry adventure. He felt a little uncertain as he didn’t want to mess it up. Before he started he decided to read the manual. The instructions were mainly focussed on using the machine use so YouTube was his next focus.
Before long he was exploring how to fix broken machines, the running cost of his machine, the types of detergent available, impact of washing clothes on the environment, how to make your own soap and different fabrics and their care.
Because George enjoyed learning he found all this fascinating.
George pondered all this. He wanted 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 patiently talked through the process – again. Her advice was just to follow what she did – she told him to just get on with it. This didn’t convince George. What if his results were different? How would he get his collars clean? 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 other things were more important. He could always buy some new shirts. Maybe an early night would be the best thing.
George didn’t complete his laundry. But he’d learned a lot about everything related to it.
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.
Have you decided this year will be when you set up your side hustle 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 reasons to change tack?
Learning to Stop Learning!
Sometimes we need to be tough on ourselves. Look at your goals. Are you avoiding taking the steps you need to take? Learning is important to help you meet your goals. It is a tool to use. Do not make it a self placed obstacle to progress.
Before you start on that next course in marketing or wait to find the perfect diet plan for yourself, ask yourself if you 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 active learning is more valid than a passive lesson.
We never stop learning it just may be the lesson format that changes!