My friend Sam received this message a few years ago. Sam’s a veteran Internet marketer, who’s been at it for over 10 years. I got to know him from joining the 3000+ strong Singapore Internet Marketers community he runs.
He shared a screenshot of this inquiry with us community members. We had a good laugh at the person’s audacity.
What, did they think they could shortcut the road to riches by hiring someone to do all the money-making legwork and brain-work?!
What were they going to do in the meantime, sit back, relax, and enjoy life?!
Sam said it is not uncommon to run into folks like that. Folks who are too passive about learning, who want “passive income” without investing the tremendous effort needed to build and sustain it.
But I somewhat understand why someone might be averse to learning.
Learning is hard. Very hard.
You need so many things to succeed. Discipline, consistency, hard work, perseverance, drive, no fear of failure, resourcefulness, etc. Have ALL of that going for as long as it takes to reach the level of proficiency you want. Which may take a longer time than anticipated.
Then there is always The Resistance. A kind of fear that tends to get stronger the deeper and longer you work on something. If you are not careful, it could drag you down into the pits of depression, stress, isolation, and more.
No wonder so many people barely go beyond the basics. When you dive deep, things can get intense.
“It’s better to be in the arena, getting stomped by the bull, than to be up in the stands or out in the parking lot.” ~ Steven Pressfield
I’ve been there before, many times. Face in the dirt and tears streaming out of my eyes. A bull stomping on my back. FAILURE!!!
Each time, I pick myself up, lick my wounds, and live to fight another day. Somehow.
Learning is a big part of my life. Particularly after I graduated from university, entered “the real world”, and flunked more times than I dare to admit. All that naivete got stomped out of me pretty quick.
Often, I get thrown into the thick of the action and left to navigate my way around the arena. There’d be no one to advise me (or worse, people tried to trip me up). Nothing to rely on but my wits and resourcefulness.
But the arena was also where I forged a voracious learning spirit. You can’t thrive in the arena if you are not nimble and eager to learn. Over time, I embraced learning as something necessary yet fun and fulfilling. I now spend a lot of free time on activities that keep my mind sharp, like daily drawing and writing.
As hard as life in the arena can be, I wouldn’t trade it for life up in the stands or parking lot, ever.
The arena is where growth happens. I want to grow. All kinds of amazing opportunities bloom around me as I grow.
Confession: I still get scared almost every time I face a new challenge and have to learn from scratch.
What if I’m not good enough? What if I embarrass myself? What if I fail?
Yep, as hard-boiled as I like to believe I am, I still get bouts of Imposter Syndrome.
But that’s OK. One of my senseis, Colin Theriot, said that Imposter Syndrome doesn’t ever go away and can in fact increase the more successful you get. The trick is to push past it and get things done.
So, I take a deep breath, muster all the courage I can get, and plunge into things. Do my best to see them to the end. I tell myself that whether I succeed or fail, I would have learnt lessons. Therefore, the experience is never a waste.
Two things have always helped me learn faster and better:
Consistency. Working on something regularly (preferably daily) lessens the scary-ness. I also inevitably get better over time.
Have a clear purpose before starting any new endeavour. Why do I want to learn this thing, and what do I hope to achieve? For example, when I learnt video marketing, I just wanted to pick up the basics and get comfortable speaking in front of the camera. Whereas for manga drawing, I want to dive deep beyond basics and be as good as the professional artists I follow on Instagram.
I wonder what happened to that person who wanted to outsource the money-making hard stuff to Sam.
Possibly still figuring out how to have “passive income” without all that pesky learning. After all, if they succeeded in making money without effort, I’d have heard of them by now. The Internet marketing and entrepreneur communities in Singapore are not big.
I hope they’d come around and embrace learning. Sure, it can be hard, painful, and it never truly ends. But there are no growth or riches without learning.