No matter what we do in life…there is a learning curve. What I mean by a “learning curve” is that when we are taking on a new task or perhaps just being involved in a new level of life, there is plenty of stuff that we just don’t know. The time it takes us to accomplish a level of learning or experience, that qualifies us as having learned it to a satisfactory level. Most of the time, the learning curve is initiated by life itself. Life is an ongoing process of trial and error. Some people do it well, learning from mistakes, observing others mistakes and with a desire to not repeat said mistakes, they learn and move forward at an ever rapid pace. Others don’t learn so quickly and therefore are bound to repeat until the lesson is learned. So each type of person has a learning curve, but the rise and fall of the curve is totally up to each of us individually.
Within “life” there are other learning curves as well. Starting a new job, school, marriage, associations, electing a president, and so forth. The key is not fighting the curve, but simply controling the time frame and also controling the actualy curve itself. How does one do this, you may ask yourself? Well…let’s dive into that for a moment shall we…
There are only so many parts of the learning curve that one can control. Having a negative curve, meaning, going down in learning, means that you are actually getting dumber as you go along. That is if we are thinking about a graph scale the moves from left to right as the days go by.
The time and rise or fall of the curve is what we can control. So that is what we are going to focus on here, relating it to risk reduction and self defense of course.
The first step to manipulating the curve, meaning, speeding it up and raising the bar, is to be aware that the learning process is there. When you start being concerned about your safety, you tend to start looking at things differently. You tend to pay more attention to those around you. You start seeing the potential dangers that could strike at any given time. You actually start realizing that the stuff you see on the news…are real accounts of people, just like yourself, and they the same crap could happen to you as well. You’re not invincible, you’re not in a bubble of protection and the police are not gonna be there every time, or maybe at all.
Such realizations are a good thing for self preservation. Such “aha” moments can save your life and the lives of others as well. Now that you are opening your eyes…the real learning begins!!!
When one is confronted with a “new thing” it is natural to have hesitation and fear. Overcoming that fear is what the goal is, and taking that step to climb out of your comfort zone is the essential element. Taking that first step, willing to push yourself for you own safety and the safety of your family, says alot about you and who you really are.
Here are a few steps one must take to increase the curve:
1. Raise Awareness that there is a learning opportunity
2. Willingness to move forward and get out of your comfort zone
3. Ask for help, ask for assistance in your learning process
4. Identify resources available to you to help increase your learning. (books, internet, magazines, people, library, etc.)
5. Tap into those resources, do the research.
6. Continue to take the steps, noting down the things you learn along the way.
After working through these steps…you will find that your knowledge has increased quite a bit. If you do them continually and, having a little excitement doesn’t hurt either.
To give you an example of what I am talking about; I have been contemplating going to law school for many years now. The first thing I did to find out more is to identify some attornys in my “realm of influence” and have a sit down with them. Starting with the lawyers I already knew/know, I was able to explain that I have been thinking about law school and wanted to know more about the process and the industry. Having found out that law school is a 3 year schooling process, and being quite grueling as well, I found out that lawyers are more than willing to “spill their guts” and share what they know about the industry. At a job, many years ago, I met an attorney and as we chatted, I asked if we could do lunch and I could ask about the process, because I was researching the possibility of becoming a lawyer. That was a great meeting, I learned many things. I also prepared by writting down some questions on paper so I could stay on track during the lunch. The great thing, is that once I explained what I was doing and how broke I was, most lawyers will actually buy you lunch, even though I was the one who asked for the meeting…NICE! But that doesn’t work everytime… nor should it.
Now…concerning the industry I am in now. Firearms and self defense. As I implimented these steps, I have met many great people who have taught me much about the industry. I have learned to ask questions, take notes, record conversations and type up the notes later on, and never pass up on an opportunity to ask more questions to those who know what they are talking about. While teaching my CFP course, I have had many people relate that they assumed I have been in the industry for about 10 years. Well, not really…it has only been about 3 year, but I have implimented the steps to increase my learning curve and still do all the time. My knowledge and certifications have surpassed most of the people from whom I was obtaining information in the first place. I have circled myself with people who, through time and testing, I know are very knowledgable and can teach me more all the time. I continue to help others and teach others, which then solidifies the knowledge I have already obtained.
I promise that if you will take the steps needed to increase your learning, thus increasing your learning curve, you will find that no matter what the subject, your knowledge will double and then double again. This process is a continual one, for life and everything. Once you realize you don’t know it all…that is a good place to start being a good student of everything.