This short story beat the crap out of my mind.
It reveals so much about success.
A young man approaches badass composer Mozart.
“I’d like to compose symphonies, too, homie. Would love to talk to you about that mate.”
Mozart: “How old are you chief?
Mozart: “That’s way too young to write masterful symphonies.”
“What?! But you were writing symphonies at age 10. Hypocrite!”
Mozart: “Yes, but I wasn’t running around asking other people how to do it.”
*Does Mozart mic drop*
The point is too many people waste time looking for mentors, asking for freebies from strangers, relying on luck/hope, and thinking about starting.
Successful people like Mozart practice self-education and immediately execute on what they learned.
Many of my most successful friends aren’t the sharpest. But they all have an obsession with figuring stuff out as they go through disciplined self-education.
Here’s how to become the Mozart of your field through self-education.
Quit reading what everyone is reading, homeslice
Reading books has become like being Kim Kardashian.
It’s all about showing off and trying to look smart. Drives me nuts. If I meet another person who reads Atomic Habits and takes a selfie holding the book, I’m gonna jump off the Sydney Harbor Bridge.
When all you do is read the same books as everyone else to look cool — you start to sound, think, and act like everyone else. It turns you into a parrot.
“Get 1% better each day.” (“Polly want a cracker?”)
Self-education expert Shane Parrish says:
If you want new ideas, read old books.
Stop jerking off over Elon Musk
It’s popular on social media to break down lessons from Elon Musk or Warren Buffett. Hey, I’ve done it 🙂
The problem with learning from billionaires and the super-successful is you’re probably so far behind them, what they can teach doesn’t apply to your situation. Or it’s too generic, like “work hard!”
(No sh*t Sherlock.)
I spend more of my self-education time learning from people who are relatable and a few steps ahead of where I am.
What they give me are specifics.
And often, I can direct message them on apps like LinkedIn and ask them quick questions to clarify what they’ve taught me. Or if they’re super helpful I can even buy their online course to go deeper.
Self-educate in unrelated topics
My friends and family think I’m having a mid-life crisis now I’m a dad.
The rumor started when I began obsessively watching Youtube videos of drummers. See, many people don’t know I used to be one of the greatest drummers in the world. No joke (story to follow).
Drums is totally unrelated to my job and passion for writing online.
What playing the drums taught me, though, is to master a boring habit.In the world of drumming you have to sit down and hit the same beat repeatedly for, sometimes, 6–8 hours at a time.
It’s bloody hard to do. There’s no dopamine hit. And distractions are easy to succumb to.
If I hadn’t fallen in love with this boredom art, I’d never of accidentally become an online writer.
Now I want to go back and relive this lesson again. So shortly, after 16 years of never hitting a drum, I’m going to start to play drums again.
Self-education from unrelated fields can help you learn new lessons in your main area of interest. Lessons are universal.
There’s a new skill you must learn to master self-education
20 years ago memorization and access to information were the holy grail.
Now, only dumbass college lovers and people trapped in institutional education systems believe in this ancient idea. The world has changed.
What matters is your ability to curate content.
It’s why those in the online education space, who can ruthlessly curate ideas and lessons and put them into a 2-hour course versus a 100-hour course, make ten times the money.
The way you get good at curation is by having filters.
I do it with a personal database (I use Roam Research). The method is you collect information, lessons, and ideas and put them into a central location with hashtags.
Then when you go to learn or write about a topic you can use the custom filters to quickly curate what shows up.
In the future, artificial intelligence will augment this personal database further and allow auto-suggestions from your archive to show up based on whatever your focus is at that moment. Genius.
Make time for self-education
Those who practice self-education after hours do better in their life and career.
It’s far too easy to come home from work and numb the mind with Netflix. The untapped growth lies in switching from entertainment content to educational content.
The unfair advantage it gives you will make people go “how the heck is she getting those results so fast?”
Free self-education equals less accountability
Author Ryan Holiday told the story of buying the book “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius at age 19.
There was an option at the time to get the book for free online. Ryan chose to pay for a copy and get a decent translation of it in modern English.
The decision seemed tiny.
But years later he became obsessed with stoicism thanks to this $20 investment.
Now he’s built a multi-million-dollar career out of stoicism.
If it weren’t for that one purchase, and if he settled for the free version of the book, all of his success may never have happened.
When you pay for self-education you appreciate it more. And you’re more likely to complete the learning because wasting money causes more pain than to finish the learning and get your money’s worth.
That’s why I like it when books and courses cost a lot of money.
The higher the price the more likely I won’t act like a dumbass and waste the opportunity.
Reading is masturbation without this one thing
It’s trendy to be known as a reader.
“Leaders are readers,” as the cliche goes. LOL.
Most people read and do nothing with the information. The way to be a successful reader is to ensure it leads to behavior change.
If a book is unlikely to lead to behavior change then it probably won’t accelerate your self-education goal.
Get paid to learn the unconventional way
It’s easy to hate on 9–5 jobs.
Most people miss the point. Even though I’ve always wanted to be part of the permissionless economy and work for myself, I spent many years working various jobs. Why?
When you have a job you get paid to learn for free.
The lessons I learned working in finance and technology were life-changing. No degree or book could have taught them to me.
Takeaway: choose jobs based on what you can learn, not earn. Because solid learning equals higher future earning.
Make this your self-education focus (or die trying)
Learning expert Dan Koe points out the difference between making money from self-education … and not.
Some people acquire knowledge and never execute on it. Others acquire knowledge and match their learning with execution — the two actions happen simultaneously and are intertwined.
If you want to master self-education then choose learning tasks based on a plan upfront as to how you’ll execute the ideas.
The #1 way people unconsciously avoid self-education
Let’s finish here.
So all this sounds piss-easy. You’re sold.
Why don’t people self-educate then? Well, it’s not because they’re lazy bastards. No.
Alex Hormozi says it’s because they hate feeling stupid.
The act of self-education makes you feel like a dumbass. The start of learning a new skill is bloody hard. It’s easy to give up or feel like you’ll never be good enough to earn a living from it or be successful.
But what I’ve learned is if you can get comfortable with feeling stupid, you can join the top 1% of any field after a few years.
I did it with online writing. I felt stupid at the start because I hardly passed high school and have no college degree.
I’m not an expert either and can barely write complete sentences.
But I was okay to feel dumb. And even worse, I was okay for people on social media to witness me look dumb and risk them leaving nasty comments on my work like “Okay idiot, ya don’t know jack sh*t.”
Feel stupid to become successful.