It’s a common impulse for entrepreneurs, aspiring and established alike, to turn a cold shoulder to the idea of “education”. It is one of the most misused, ambiguous words traditionally associated with our schooling from elementary school all the way to college and graduate schools.
Although your formal schooling is an important phase of your education, it’s really just the basics, the bare minimum of what you need to survive. You are still quite uninformed as to what it takes to really grab the world by the horns and succeed.
If there is no formal schooling for adapting to the modern day business world, what are some significant branches of “education” one must adhere to if they want to take advantage of all the rich opportunities life has to offer?
Learning from your mistakes
By far the most painful method of learning, it is also the most straightforward. When we make mistakes, it’s easy to quickly regret what we did in the present moment and be flustered with emotions of anger and irritation. But we need to appreciate them and accept them as valuable life lessons.
You will never learn what to do if you don’t know what not to do first. Experiment, fail, and move on. The amount of trials you are allowed to take with these experiments is simply however many it takes until you get it right.
As entrepreneurs, we are usually capitalizing on ideas and embarking on projects that have never been done before. There is somewhat of a roadmap for start-ups, but no clearly defined way of doing things. Considering the lack of instruction that goes along with start-ups, we can expect many mistakes to be made and regrets to be had.
This is how we learn as entrepreneurs. This is how we make each venture better than the previous one and eventually become a pro at what we do.
Learning from other’s mistakes
“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
The preferred alternative to learning from one’s own mistakes is to learn where others have gone wrong. When we make mistakes ourselves, they are valuable lessons that have the potential also prevent progress in the short term. When others make mistakes, they become our own personal learning tools with no baggage whatsoever.
All around us, others are making wrong turns, leaving us precious opportunities to see which decisions they were ignorant about and could have handled more effectively and responsibly.
Another person’s misstep is only useful if we can learn from it so that when we are faced with a similar situation, we can easily save time and figure out the best choice to make.
Learning from a mentor
“A single conversation with a wise man is better than ten years of study.” –Chinese Proverb
Learning from someone who has done it and seen it already is an invaluable method of learning. Mentors are usually people who are older than we are and by nature, have more experience. What you can learn from this person is limited only by the knowledge and wisdom they possess.
If you don’t have a mentor, fear not, as you can find one if you just know where to look. Start with family and friends. Older siblings, parents, distant relatives, or anyone within your social circles that may have wisdom to impart.
If you’re in college, seek out professors, as what they teach you in class is exceedingly different from what they can teach you outside the classroom. At a company, look to those with more experience than you or those that are in senior level positions. These are people who have been around the block and can give you advice on what to do and what not to do in order to succeed within the field you are currently in.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”-Mahatma Gandhi
At no point in your life should you stop, look around, and be content with your knowledge. Regardless of how successful you become, you must always feel the need to fill your brain with exciting new ideas or strategies. The world we live in today is changing faster than ever before, and that is why we need to always be learning so that we may adapt to whatever change befalls us.
Most of you are probably in college or have recently graduated, and therefore are probably under the impression that your formal education is over. While you may never sit in a classroom again, it is important to understand that each phase of your life comes with its own unique tests, homework and lectures filled with helpful advice.
Your wealth, success, and happiness will always correlate directly to how you are able to apply what you have learned with each step to the top of the company ladder.
Joe Sorrentino | Elite.