The greatest teacher of all time doesn’t work at a school.

One of the great mistakes you can make in life is studying things to death. By this, I mean that you read and research the things you want to do. And then you die. Your life is full of studying, thinking and preparing. But never actually doing. This is a big mistake. Huge. Like Julia Roberts said.

Most people think they need to prepare to get started. But they are never prepared enough to go. If you subscribe to this philosophy you will never meet the greatest teacher of all. Because she isn’t in your books. And she isn’t part of the PTA in Harper Valley.

The best teacher in the history of the planet is action. Action provides immediate lessons, feedback and progress. You learn by doing. You do not really learn by not really doing. I think Dr. Doolittle said that.

You learn to play a game by actually playing the game. This was true on the playground. It’s true in board games, video games and head games. (Just ask Lou Gramm.) It is also true in the game of life and in the great game of business.

As an entrepreneur, I learned how to start and run a business by simply jumping in and doing it. I learned more in the first week I launched The Weaponry than I learned from all of the books, magazines and articles I ever read.

I’ve learned how to coach sports by jumping in and doing it, while I was still totally ignorant. (Now I am just 3/4 ignorant.) Each step you take teaches you what you should do next. It’s how Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook. And why the Winklevosses did not.

Key Takeaway

If you really want to learn how to do something don’t study it. Do it. You will learn more and faster by taking action than you could through any other approach. The more action you take the more you will learn. You are already prepared enough. It’s go-time.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Everything is a game. Here’s the best way to learn how to play.

Last night was game night at our house. We played a card game that my children had never played before. To begin, I read them the instructions on how to play the game, how the game is scored, and how to win. After reading the last of the instructions, I looked up to find my kids staring at me as if I had just read them the instructions in gibberish. Or Swahili. Or Swahili gibberish. Which is extra hard for native English speakers to understand.

I’ve seen that look before. In fact, it feels as if I’ve seen that WTF-ish look every time I’ve ever played a new game with anyone, ever.

The simple fact is that games are complicated. It’s very difficult to absorb the complexities of a new game as the rules of the game are read to you. And if you take a moment to step back, you quickly realize is that everything in life is a game. Not just sports, or things that Milton Bradley and those good-timing Parker Brothers dreamed up. EVERYTHING is a game. Including:

  • business
  • investing
  • real estate
  • relationship building
  • entrepreneurship
  • test taking
  • sales
  • technology
  • surfing
  • riding a bike
  • coaching
  • cooking
  • gardening
  • driving
  • flying
  • writing
  • art
  • mechanics
  • parenting
  • That thing couples do that turns them into parents

Learn By Playing

To learn a new game you simply have to play it. There is no way around it. You have to learn the rules as you go. You learn through the process of playing. Not by absorbing an overview of the rules of the game before you start.

Far too often we delay playing the most interesting games (entrepreneurship, investing, writing, pickleball) until we have studied it completely. But studying the games of life is largely procrastination. Learn 10% ahead of time, and then start. You’ll learn the rest on the chutes and ladders.

Key Takeaway

You don’t learn how to play the games of life by reading the instructions. You learn by actually playing the games. The details reveal themselves as you go. The games you will play are far too complicated to comprehend through simply reading. So start playing. Clarity will come quickly when you are rubbing against the rules rather than reading them.

It’s your turn.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.