Enough Learning

The past dozen or so years of my life have been dedicated mostly to learning and growth. Not totally singlemindedly, of course; I’ve traveled around and done fun things and have also put out a respectable body of work, but most of my focus has been on improvement.

And I needed it. I learned social skills, productivity, programming, writing, and some parts of ten languages. I built strong social circles in several cities composed of people I love and respect, built home bases in Las Vegas and San Francisco, and immersed myself in many different cultures around the world.

Time well spent.

Last night I had the idle thought that I should learn Korean. I miss learning languages, and Korean is a pretty good one. Then I thought about how I plan on spending more time in Budapest and how I should learn Hungarian, even though it is, by all accounts, impossible.

And then I thought: enough learning.

I’ve had a few friends who have gone back to college not because they need another degree or because they have some unquenchable thirst for knowledge, but simply because they don’t know what to do with their lives and college is safe. No one (well, besides me…) criticizes you for going back to school, and you can delay having to live life.

It occurred to me that I’m not that different. Everyone is impressed when I learn a bunch of languages, but it’s easy and acts as a substitute for things that don’t come as easily to me. It’s a sneaky trick, probably one that most of us employ from time to time: doing something worthwhile to mask the fact that we aren’t doing what’s actually best.

We need to balance building assets and knowledge with taking action, and it’s fair to say that I haven’t been far enough on the action side of that equation for a while.

My friend Noah Kagan came to visit in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago. In terms of taking action towards goals, he’s one of the best people I know. We spent a lot of time talking about business, and the differences in our processes was glaring. He has concrete goals and takes action every day trying to reach them. I do whatever I think is best, but not towards a particular goal.

As an indulgence to myself, I finished all of the features I wanted to build for CruiseSheet, using today as a deadline. I chose a revenue goal for a year out, projected what I’d need to make every month to be on track, and sent a copy to Noah. From now on I’ll take action on things that will get me closer to that number.

There’s a time for learning, but there’s a time for action as well. Learning is only really valuable when it is applied, so you have to make sure that you are actually using what you’ve learned. Until April first of next year I’m going to focus only on action. I’m sure I’ll learn some stuff, too, but the ratio will be 90/10 or so.

Are you effectively applying your skills and knowledge into action? I bet about half the people that read this think, “Yeah, of course… that’s how you live life”, but maybe it will be wakeup call for the other half of us.

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Photo is, obviously, the Golden Gate Bridge. Some friends and I rented a sailboat and sailed around the bay a little bit.

If you happen to know about real estate in Budapest, will you email me? My name at my name dot com.

Also, if you haven’t checked out CruiseSheet in a while, you should! I’ve done a ton of work on it recently.

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