Are you training or doing?

Kurt.nzPersonal development

When I was in the Army reserve, we did a lot of training. That’s how you learn. That’s how you get good. Training is a necessary tool, so when it gets real, you know what to do. You’ve done the drills so often that you can do them without thinking.

The problem was, there was very little opportunity for me to actually use that training. At least not immediately. The same goes for many people in the military. Even when on a deployment, a lot of your time is spent waiting.

Sometimes it was difficult for me to take the training seriously. I have a fairly short attention span. If what I’m doing doesn’t show results pretty quickly, it’s easy to become bored.

The alternative doesn’t make sense though. I think everyone would rather a little training before being thrown into a war zone. With high stakes comes the need to prepare as much as you can, before executing.

But most of the things we do in life are low stakes. Starting a small business on the side, trying something new, learning a skill. If we structure it right, these can all be low stakes.

So what better way to learn in these environments, than to just try stuff? To move from theory straight into practice. To get instant feedback on what’s working and what isn’t.

When I became a private investigator it was a completely different story. I was thrown in the deep end. From day one I was working on real cases (supervised). Everything I did was real time. I had a safety net in that I was always working with an experienced investigator. But I was able to see the results of my decisions straight away. I took it seriously because it was real.

I developed a lot quicker in this environment than the theory/training environment. I’m sure you would too.

So, are you training or doing?

If you’re training, you must think the stakes are high. How can you lower them?

How can you learn in a safer environment? Is there a way to test your decisions in real time? What’s the worst that could happen?

Because as far as learning goes, doing will trump training every time.