Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Upgrade Yourself

There is nothing wrong with being ignorant.

Let us repeat that: there is nothing wrong with being ignorant. Whether you're ignorant about the difference between a 401k and a Roth IRA or why they are important, or whether you're ignorant about what the big psychological hurdle standing in your way of greatness is, it's okay.
We don't know about you, but often it feels like self-help books, or online courses, or going back to school when you're forty (or thirty, or twenty five, or anytime you're not 18) is some sort of character flaw. The rational is that you were too dumb/poor/incompetent/drugged up/whatever to learn whatever it is you were supposed to learn the first time.

This rational is one of the biggest crappy things that you can listen to. Seriously, this line of thinking will prevent you from learning and growing and really taking kick-ass control of your life.

Think about it this way: You grow up being told what to learn. You get tested on it, you learn it (short term, long term, whatever to pass), and then move on to new stuff. You graduate high school. College (if any) ends up being a big experimentation of you finding what you want to learn, but there's still a structure that helps feed you into different classes. There are prereqs, degree programs, a bunch of stuff that basically tells you what to learn. While you're busy trying to figure out which one of these is the best for you, you only have so much time and so much money to figure something out. So you rush, and panic, and maybe you don't get to try everything. You're too busy learning about astrophysics to learn how to market yourself and network, or maybe you're learning how to network but you don't have the time to learn how to replace your car engine or play the trumpet. Just because you learned a bunch of stuff doesn't mean you learned the stuff that you need or want to have learned.

Our point is that there is nothing wrong with being ignorant. We simply do not have the time to learn everything all at once, so logically there is going to be tons of stuff in our adult lives that we don't know very much about. However, there is something we can do about that.

One financial badass Monkey reads a lot from (Ramit Sethi, a true monster of a knowledge seeker) invests thousands of dollars in himself every year in courses, books, conferences, etc. etc. etc. The thing is, it's not just Ramit that invests in himself, it's basically every successful person. Some might try and hide the fact so they look "cooler," but regardless, successful people aren't afraid of doing what it takes to learn what they need to. Granted, you don't have to drop thousands of dollars, but you do have to take a lesson away from this - you need to invest in yourself.

Go to the self-help section in the library if you're feeling stuck in your art. Check out a book on finances if you have no idea how to deal with your money. Watch some online tutorials on how to build a silkscreen exposure unit or how to change your own oil. Take a class on archery, or on any topic that interests you at your local city college. Some classes are even free!

You see, if you're ignorant about something, educate yourself. In reality, we think that people at the top of their game will look down on us for trying to learn more and make ourselves stronger. The people who look down on us for reading self-help books when we know we have a problem or for spending hours reading coursework that will help us market ourselves better are really just envious and scared. They probably don't even know it, but deep down the reason why they feel the need to be all high-and-mighty is that they are afraid that you're going to surpass them.

In the end, who is the bigger fool? Someone with a problem who just ignores it and compounds the issue because they think they're above getting help, or someone with a problem who learns about it and figures out the way to overcome that problem?