I don’t know about you, but learning can be a tedious and frustrating prospect. Boy, I can remember loathing math class in high school. I didn’t like it, I didn’t get it, and I only cared enough about it to get a decent grade. French class was the same deal. Foreign languages just didn’t click with me and still don’t.
History, well that was a whole different story. I loved that class and looked forward to it every day. I would read far ahead in my book at night because I found it really fascinating. I would regularly borrow books from the library on all kinds of history, and was constantly trying to learn as much as I could. It became apparent to me that I would learn just as much, probably even more, if I didn’t even have a teacher or the distractions of the other kids in class.
This happens all the time, to both children and adults. Learning is very difficult with subjects we don’t like, and incredibly easy for those subjects we do.
I’ve done a lot of things in my life so far, and I’ve learned most every single one of them through self teaching. I’m a very accomplished guitarist, songwriter and singer, and also play several other instruments. I am a music educator and creator of learning programs. I started a successful printing company from scratch, becoming an expert on so many facets of the machinery end of the business, that I had a freelance consulting job with a major manufacturer after I sold the printing operation.
A few years later, I got a job with a national Fortune 500 company, who specialized in digital printing and document management. I started out as a digital printing specialist. In less than eight months, I was asked to be a part of a five person pilot training team. Our job was to write proprietary training presentations and programs on site and equipment operations, modular customer service trainings, management level classes in business writing, time management, public speaking and project planning.
We had 12 months to write and create the material and presentations, implement the training to over 800 employees in the New England area, create and maintain tracking metrics. If we succeeded, the program would be rolled out nationally to 35,000 employees, and we would still have jobs. Fortunately, we pulled it off and earned the company the accolade of one of the Top 125 Training Organizations by Training Magazine, which it still holds after six consecutive years.
How did we do that? How did I learn how to start a printing business that requires a great deal of skill and a huge learning curve? How about the music? It’s easy, and the secret to it all is this: Wanting to do it. Wanting to do it so bad that it almost becomes an obsession, and frequently does. You spend as much time as possible reading, researching, asking questions, attending seminars, making mistakes, trying new and old ways of doing things, observing, failing and using every resource that you can get your hands on.
I’m not patting myself on the back for what I’ve done, and I’m certainly not looking to impress anyone. I only want to show that no matter who you are, where you come from, how rich or poor you are doesn’t matter. You really can learn anything by self teaching. You just have to want it, and love it enough.