Meet Alice and Bob. Nether of them has ever played tennis. They make a bet, that in 1 year they will have tennis match and the winner of the match is the winner of the bet, say, a brand new Lamborghini.
Alice loves fast cars. Bob loves Italian cars. Big win for both of them.
Strategy 1 – Reading
Alice immediate starts studying the art of tennis. She runs to the library and spends 1 year reading everything about Tennis. She knows everything there is to know about any special technique. All the theories. All of the big stars secret playing techniques. Everything.
Strategy 2 – Trying
Bob, on the other hand, he doesn’t like reading. He has no idea about tennis, but choses to go to the tennis court three times a week. Soon he buys a tennis racket and starts playing. He looses all the time, because he doesn’t know what he is doing. Soon, though, he gets an idea of how to serve. He observes the good ones and imitates them. Asks them for advice. Plays against them, of course loosing.
Well, one year goes by. It is the day of the big match.
Who do you think goes home with the Lamborghini?
Bob, of course.
What is the point of the story?
Reading is not learning. Learning needs to new actions, new behaviour, new habits.
Knowing is not enough
Well, you might argue, this might be true for tennis, but it is different for other aspects of life.
Say, you want to become confident.
You read a bunch of books. You know everything about it. But you didn’t take action, you didn’t change behaviours, you didn’t get new better habits.
Well, you think you’re acting confident?
You didn’t change anything. And if you behave in the exact same way, can you expect new results? Doesn’t the same action expect the same results?
The secret balance
Well, of course Alice and Bob go to the extremes. One only studying, one only taking action.
But we all tend to overemphasise the reading and studying of a subject we want to learn.
Why is that?
It more comfortable to read, study, youtube, than going out in the real world to put your life to a test. To try something new in the real world is difficult.
But value from each trial, the learning from each attempt, feeling it with your real life, gives more experience than by reading too many books.
Yes, books give insights, youtube videos give ideas, and it will probably move you a bit towards your goal.
But honestly, the real fast results comes from getting outside your comfort zone and do some trial and error. On top of that, having real life experience also puts better perspective and understanding on your reading.