How you can learn two years’ worth of material in one day
(Disclaimer: This is not a religious article and does not contain any religious themes).
In a recent Church service, I had to serve in the Altar by myself along with the Priest.
The problem with this, is that I was extremely nervous, and I felt incapable. There are certain tasks meant for the “Altar boys” to complete and not the Priest. And me being the only “Altar boy” I had to complete a lot of tasks, some of which I had never done before. And to add to that, since this is during Church service, there wasn’t much Googling or question asking I could do. So naturally, I was extremely nervous and felt incapable with this forcing function of completion now imposed on me.
Throughout various portions of the service, this anxiety increased. The tasks started becoming more and more foreign. I was constantly fretting over the next unknown and how to prepare for that. I was scrapping my way through.
Fast-forward to the end:
For the tasks that I had done before and knew how to do with my eyes closed, I completed them successfully, but anxiety was still present as there was still more to complete.
For the tasks that I wasn’t fully well-versed in, I was a bit nervous, but I stumbled my way through. I also knew that I had some questions that I had to ask after the service ended.
And for the tasks I had never done, I had been utterly scared. Now luckily, I had a smidge of experience as I had observed them, but I had never ventured on them. That was partly due to me choosing to stay in my comfort zone. But, even after doing those tasks, I didn’t miserably fail there either. Yes, I did make one or two mistakes, but nothing was a complete disaster.
I say that not to point out that my anxiety from the beginning was unnecessary (though it definitely was), but to say that going through all of that, made me grow so much more.
In one day, I had both confirmed and learned new things that encompassed almost, if not all, my knowledge from the past two years.
All the observation and repetition of what I was comfortable in was little compared to actually venturing into the uncomfortable. Whatever little mistakes I did make became to-dos for me to improve.
In the past, I had stayed in my comfort zone and occasionally stepped out of it when necessary. But on that day, I had to go against that, and the rewards were so much greater.
Throughout this learning experience, I saw the parallels in business, or entrepreneurship specifically, with it not being teachable. And to that I say, sure, you can read textbooks and what not, but at the end of the day, you’ll learn the most from actually starting a company or working at a startup.
Sometimes we just need to be thrown into the deep end. With whatever little knowledge we know, go for it. And if the risks are too severe for you to just jump into it, either break up the task into smaller tasks or create a mock version. But eventually you just need to dive into these things. There’s nothing wrong with observation or consuming content, but there needs to be a prioritization on doing.
And for those who’ve already started and jumped into the deep end, there’s still more territory to be covered. There are more unknowns that we can learn about and just jump into. You’ll always feel a bit incompetent and nervous. So don’t try to get rid of that feeling. Acknowledge it, and then stretch yourself into the unknown.