Fail. Plain and simple. Just fail. End of post. Have a great day.
Facetiousness aside, that’s pretty much how it works. No inventor has ever created exactly what they were looking to accomplish on their first try, and they were all human beings prone to error. They had their fears and were defeated several times, but due to their determination they succeeded. That’s what it really comes down to: Wanting and Doing.
So we have to start with a desire to do something. Pick something that you’ve been curious about and have a true desire to learn. That’s where it all starts.
There are always many reasons NOT to do something, but they’re usually just a result of fear and a lack of understanding. Before I learned how to be a programmer, I thought it’d be way too difficult and would require way too much effort to get anything done. I quickly learned that that was not true and I was worried only because I did not understand.
The key is to put that fear and worry aside, and not let it tell you what you can and cannot do. You’re only a failure if you give in to those thoughts and let them define you. Success is achieved by failing many times over. Anyone telling you otherwise has no clue what he or she are talking about. So keep doing what you’re doing and watch them become envious of your success.
After learning a few new facts you may determine that it wasn’t what you thought, but you still learned something valuable along the way and it may become useful in another area of your life. The more you learn though, the broader your foundation becomes and it becomes easier to add on to it. A great example for this is learning how to program. The first few programming languages can be a bit difficult and daunting, but eventually you discover that they all share a lot of the same concepts and have many similarities, which requires increasingly less effort to learn the next. Eventually you realize that you know a dozen different programming languages making you a very valuable asset.
How To Begin
Just Do It. That’s right, set a date on your calendar or just start researching when you have some down time. You can’t finish anything without starting it, so make that the first step.
Congratulations, you’ve now made it farther than most people would. You’ve committed to something without making excuses as to why you would fail rather than succeed. If you’re doing this to advance your career, great work! If your boss is actually qualified and your company cares about you, they’ll see that effort and realize that you are an invaluable asset to the company. If you’re doing this for personal reasons that’s awesome too! You’re becoming a better person and can one day help someone else become successful.
So Here’s Phase 1: Learning
Research, research, research. When I was first learning my first server side programming language (PHP) the Internet was not what it is today. Google was still in its infancy and searching for “PHP Tutorial” may not have returned many quality results. These days I can search Google for “PHP Tutorial” and come across thousands of websites that have factual information that will help me become knowledgeable on the topic.
Don’t assume that it’ll be instant though. I call it a phase because it’ll take some time, whereas a step suggests a small quick task as a part of a larger list. Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, the amount of time you need to invest researching and gathering data may take a few hours to a few weeks, or more.
By simply beginning and investing a little bit of time into researching your topic, you’re increasing the probability that you will succeed exponentially. During this phase you will eliminate your fears and doubts by becoming informed. Additionally, you’ll come across things that will generate more interest in the topic, which will motivate you to learn more. Before you know it, you’ll realize that just a week ago you thought this would be an impossible adventure, whereas now it is an achievable goal. That’s a good feeling, chase it.
Just remember that in this phase you’re going through a funnel. You’re going to start out with 20 websites, 10 books/eBooks, and 2 forums that have information on the topic and eventually narrow it down to just a handful of resource that you can always refer to if you get stuck. This is probably the hardest and most frustrating part, but a little time, patience and effort will help you reach the light at the end of the tunnel. So the only way you can fail is by giving up, because all the information you need is available on the Internet.
Let’s Move On To Phase 2: Doing
After you’ve sifted through all the information you found in Phase 1 and found a few reliable sources: start experimenting. Try a few things and see what works best for you. Go ahead and write a few lines of code and see if they work. Go to the gym and try a few exercises. If you’ve done it right your body will be in pain for a couple days: now you can feel the progress J. Alternatively, maybe you were trying to bench press but you find that your arms are the only muscles that are sore. Next time you go to the gym focus on your form and make sure that your chest is getting fatigued. Ask someone to spot you and verify that your form is correct. You’ll eventually get it.
One thing to keep in mind is: failure is going to happen more often than success, but the more you try and the more experience you gain, the quicker you will be able to succeed.
In my opinion, becoming an expert is all about knowing how to fail so you can avoid it and focus on bettering yourself at the things that do work.
In the end Success is a function of Failure and it’s up to you to put in the effort to be successful. There is an endless amount of resources online to help get you started with anything you want to learn. You only fail by not starting.