Learning to Walk as You Go

I am incredibly good at learning on the job. Said that I’ve always believed that trying things is the only efficient approach in learning. Simultaneously covering some theory won’t hurt especially in certain industries; however before we attempt walking we do not spend five years at the University of Walking book-warming days away . First step in life is done by attempting to get up; however first step on the Moon required a great deal of theory (and practice) beforehand.

Later or sooner first steps occur in EVERYTHING we do. There is nothing in the world that we already know. Neither we come here with tabula rasa (theory that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception, first mentioned by Aristotle). Although we know that people develop in a womb where they already structure personality, color of eyes, skin etc and it is a repetitive experience for the human race, every single individual comes through it only once.

After several attempts of learning how to drive a car with a driving instructor I came to a realization (years ago) that I will never learn how to drive till I get my own car which I’d be responsible for. I haven’t thought about acquiring a new profession by being thrown into it without a life jacket; however you will be laughing but this is how I unrolled by passion towards writing and metamorphosed into what I am doing now – marketing.

As a dark forest as marketing can be it is a fascinating blind walk where vision comes in places every now and than. I’ve been networking in the industry partially for the sake of finding out what other marketing related people do. When you first walk into a zoo your eyes start spreading as scenery gets more and more exciting. Children especially struggle with it as they run towards the first bright object they see quickly changing their mind if another one pops out anywhere within their vision. It takes experience and time to stop reacting like that to bright and exciting things. Interestingly, learning how to react different takes force as well as time and repetition. How visiting a zoo is relevant to marketing? Well, when I first heard ‘marketing’ I got as excited as I think many people still do, not realising what this profession entitles to and how massively diverse it is. I started working in a small company which at the time resembled a zoo due to the novelty of the scenery, bright things all over the place and a not very talkative but in a possession of a knife my new at the time co-worker. Long story short I finally bought a car with no driving skills and was employed by a marketing agency to do the job I’ve never heard of. Almost two years down the track …

Well, I am Good, all I can say 🙂

Finding out that I was an introvert was a big deal. Finding anything out about yourself is a crucial, exciting and beneficial occasion, really. Learning how introverts and extroverts function was priceless. I’ve talked about it with many people since my ‘discovery’ and unfortunately many are still giggling when they hear my ‘brain talk’. Learning the differences in people’s brain functioning was an eye opener to a lot of things and a valid trigger for a better tolerance. As an introvert I am very sensitive to emotions, feelings and anything really from the outside world (as well as the inside one). As if my neurons learn very slow when it comes to stop being scared of darkness. Clearly it is nothing to do with it; however definitely feels like it. Jokes aside, I’ve learnt that equally extroverts and introverts can get really excited about stuff. Whatever goes up has to come down as we know. For some, the come down can be painful. We often say that laughing is good and smiles are healing and happiness is all we need. Although I totally agree, I’ve noticed some people who go very high in their happiness often fall really low when they run out of it. Sorry folks, no matter how positive you are, we all sometimes run out of good eventually. The secret though is to use your happy carefully and equally to the amount you produce. Similarly to the supply and demand chain you are better of holding your horses when hit the pick of being happy. Interestingly, if you maintain your happy and sad almost at the same level without picking and plunging much you can carry your god face through almost any difficulty.

Therefore when people ask me how am I different from any other professional I know that experience and repetition is what business sharks value, I also bring analytic brain which loves digging into whatever requires to be discovered. We all know that starting something up is very difficult physically and mentally. Stepping into a dark forest means bumping into some sticks, brunches and sometimes snakes; however this is exactly how we end up learning how to duck in time finding safer or riskier paths meeting the light at the end of the tunnel. The ways you find to avoid stepping in the hole designs creativity. Making a mistake first time is almost inevitable and in my opinion very important. Although I agree that a certain amount of knowledge and theory picked up along the way can make the dark forest journey easier, it is not always by the book out there. Theory seems to be too static, it needs to be constantly updated and tried out.

Just like it is happening with marketing, world is constantly changing. It means that whatever you have just learnt potentially could lose its value and relevancy along the trial stages. It should not scare you! Adjusting as you go is how infants learn to walk. Bumping into a wall will almost always result in finding a door. Falling of a cliff will put a protection barrier up. In other words, learning as you go seems to have much more value in it rather than spending half a decade within four walls of a University … which I must admit I have also done 🙂

I am aware that most of people are scared of change and change is rarely smooth. Although it requires a lot of attention, effort and time, change is almost a must. It is especially relevant when learning seems to be ending. Living is learning. There is never really an end to it. If something becomes static it most likely needs a change. Getting a new car or applying for a job, moving houses or countries, learning a new skill or obtaining a new qualification is all a part of being. Loosing and finding, making mistakes and fixing them should contribute towards the progress which ideally never is never entirely complete but constantly developing, adjusting and re-structuring.

None of us would board on the plane with a self-educated pilot, we definitely don’t want a learning on a job surgeon to operate and I would be a little nervous to give my books to a self-proclaimed accountant with no degree… However what I mean is that obtaining theoretical knowledge is relatively easy because we as a human race have collected a giant amount of information available. On other hand, finding a job when you are fresh from the university or a different country most likely means walking in the dark forest for a little longer than experienced trackers.

My message today – Learn to Walk as You Go and don’t worry if you are going to fall over couple of times – a bleeding nose isn’t the worst but the part of whatever new you will discover.


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