The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.- Bertrand Russell
Originally posted in The Highwater Weekly.
You’ve read a ton of books, watch videos on YouTube, read blog posts and attended webinars and classes.
After more reading, more studying, more newsletter sign-ups, you notice that instead of feeling empowered by your growing knowledge, you feel more overwhelmed. You feel like you are not yet ready to take on the project that you know will change your life. You think you need to learn more, study more, talk to more experts.
Then one day you look up and they’ve done it. Someone who has not taken all the classes, webinars, or read all the books you’ve read.They just got started and their work got attention.
You wonder why often the most well-versed people have the least confidence, while many novices, in your opinion, charge forth and cash in.
It is a psychological phenomenon called the “Dunning-Kruger Effect.” When we start out, we have confidence in part because we do not understand the full scope of the field, the method, the project, or whatever we are trying start.
As you can see, the middle part is where our confidence takes a nose-dive. We know so much that we also have a sense of how much we do not know. This valley between knowledge and confidence stops many people in their tracks.
How do you get out of the valley and reach not only expert knowledge, but expert confidence?
- Give yourself homework. Practice everything you learn. Homework, projects and assessments are why we don’t experience as much knowledge overwhelm when we are in formal education settings. We are called on to demonstrate our knowledge, so we have a sense of how much we truly know.
- Stop consuming information for a while. Take a pause from the blogs, the newsletters, the podcasts, the web courses and the like. One exception: If you are in an active learning environment, where you not only receive information but you test it out and assess your knowledge and skills regularly, stick to it.
- Share your work. Internet culture allows us all to be public works in progress, and this is a good thing. Sharing your learning journey is a great way to connect with others on the same path. After sharing consistently for months and years, you now have a comprehensive public body of work that not only demonstrates your current skill, but your growth as well.
- Be foolish. This does not mean ignore what you have learned. Rather, challenge the notion that you need additional resources, connections, tools, or money. Ask yourself:
How can I move forward without X, Y or Z?
Could the “how” appear after I take action? (Spoiler: It always does).
Keep in mind that you never know what a person’s journey looks like behind the scenes. Overnight success truly takes years. For example, after interviewing over 100 web series creators, Highwater Podcast Episode Three guest and OpenTV Founder Dr. Aymar Jean Christian found that the average web series creator had produced 2–4 web series.
We are all on the slow and steady grind. You won’t find a book or webinar that can change that.
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