No amount of great teacher or learning material will make you a pro. Here is why.
Let’s say you want to learn writing. There are tons of great learning materials that are just one click away. Great books, high-quality Youtube videos, and courses. You also have remarkable tools like AI chatbots, AI image generators, and all kinds of software and websites. On top of that, you can get the best teachers to teach you face-to-face.
And suppose you learned all these materials. Now what? You can just sit down and write a New York Times bestseller?
Not a single chance.
Because real knowledge is always learned by firsthand experiences, not what others says.
I call this The Firsthand Learning Rule.
❤ Why The Firsthand Learning Rule is important
There are two reasons why The Firsthand Learning Rule is the gold of learning: filtering and internalization.
Filtering means finding out in all the knowledge you learned, what really works and how they work. This happens in four ways:
1. Finding what knowledge is actually right. All authors of all the published stuff declare that what they say is the truth. I call this “The Publish Curse“.
No one will write 1000 words then right before hitting publish, say what they just said is nonsense. If you can see something, then at least the author thinks it’s true. Except it can’t be. In fact, most of the information you can see is either biased or totally wrong.
So how do you find out if what you learned is the truth? By testing for yourself. This is the ONLY way.
It doesn’t matter if what you read is a 10th edition classic book, or what you heard is some investing rules that Warren Buffet just told you himself.
Because everybody makes mistakes. You can only trust these sources more, but in the end, you are the only one that you can trust fully and the only one who is responsible for YOUR life.
2. Finding the application condition of the knowledge. “Every rule has its application condition.” This is a gold mental model that I have learned several years ago, and it revolutionized my worldview. No matter if it’s a rule of physics, social science, or just anything that could be phrased as “you should do” or “is right”.
Newton’s Law of Motion is true only when it’s a big object moving far slower than light speed. “Meditation will cure your anxiety” is true only when you don’t have more serious issues like deep depression. Don’t even get started on all the “rules” that contradict each other. For every life quote, there is an opposite one that’s equally famous.
“God, what do I do now?”
Well, test for yourself, again.
3. Knowing what other knowledge is needed to get one job done. The gap between knowing and doing is made up of tons of other related knowledge that you don’t know you need before doing. The way to find out these related knowledge? Doing.
4. Knowing what knowledge suits you. There could be more than one way to do something, but only by doing it for yourself can you find the one that suits you.
Reality doesn’t matter, what matters is what each individual perceives as reality. If a cult believes 1+1=3, and it has 100000 armed members trying to overthrow the government, then whether others believe 1+1=2 or not doesn’t matter at all.
As I said in The Master Triangle, internalization is the GOLD of learning.
Learning is in its essence changing people’s minds. But we human beings are emotional creatures, we don’t believe something just because some other people said so. We can believe something logically, but deep down, inside, we don’t resonate with it. To really learn something, we need to FEEL it. Feeling is emotional, it works on the primitive brain, and everything works on this part stays.
That’s how we internalize knowledge.
❤ 2 types of firsthand experiences
There are 2 types of firsthand experiences: what happens to your close relationships, and what happens to you.
The social influence theory tells us that our friends, family, and other social contacts have a more significant impact on our thoughts and actions than any books, media, or other forms of information we might encounter.
Facts don’t change minds, relationship does.
Here is an example.
You watched Steve Jobs’ famous 2005 commencement speech, and were totally shocked by the truth that life is too short to waste on things that you don’t like, you felt deeply refreshed and enlightened. But that’s it. Couple minutes of goosebumps later, you close the browser and go on to the job you hate, for the following three-plus years. Until one day, a close family member dies at a relatively young age, and on the death bed, he said exactly the same thing Jobs said. And you handed in the resignation first thing the next day.
It’s Steve Jobs for god’s sake, and it’s the most-viewed commencement speech in the whole world. Yet it did not change your mind, but your family member did.
The closer the influencer is, the more influence they have on us.
And the closest people to you, is you.
So trust your own experience and put what you learn into practice, then you can master whatever you want.
❤ “But I don’t have time to do all that for myself”
This is perfectionism talking.
You don’t have to do it all, just put into practice the part of knowledge that you need to get a certain job done, and ignore the others.
And the result will already be beyond your expectation.
What are your thoughts on this? Is this helpful in any way? Leave a comment below~
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