Friday, February 29, 2008

Sticking With It

I have a sign sitting on my desk that says, 'Most things are difficult before they are easy."

Sometimes I think we expect things to be instantly easy. We want to master skills and demonstrate prowess instantly without going through a learning curve. In most endeavors in life, this simply isn't realistic.

I think of many things that I've learned about. Rarely do I do something perfectly (or even well) right out of the gate. Some learning processes go quickly, but others are slower more cumulative processes.

My knowledge of plants, trees and gardening has developed over the past 18 years that I have been a home owner. In the past, I watched gardening shows on television quite frequently. I also have often read gardening books and magazines. I go through seasons with this hobby/interest. Some years I don't do much with it and other years I spend more time adding to my knowledge base.

My knowledge of finance and investing has followed a similar path, and I continue pouring several hours a week into expanding and refniing my skill set.

Sometimes I get frustrated with how little I still know about the many interests that I have. Then I remind myself that even putting in a little effort over time results in cumulative knowledge gained over the long haul. I also remember that the time is going to pass anyway, so I might as well be studying things that interest me and expanding my wisdom!

Lots of us get into 'all or nothing' thinking about our interests. We want mastery (quickly) or we just give up or postpone our efforts to learn about something.

I am a believer in the 'slow drip' process of learning new things or getting things done. Set aside small amounts of time to devote to something and let the learning build on itself over time. Be patient, don't demand instant mastery, and keep reminding yourself that the time will pass anyway, and all those small amounts of time will eventually transform into deep levels of learning!

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