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Where Are You On The Investing Learning Curve? Learning Curve Psychology and Steps for Mastery

The Learning Curve

Where are you on The Investing Learning Curve?

Many of us have a deep desire to accomplish some specific task in life.  Become a writer, bloom as an entrepreneur, create amazing art, build our own home, achieve financial freedom.  But we become discouraged too early and easily because we make a fundamental mistake.  We confuse a lack of skills and knowledge with a lack of ability.  We are in the early stages of a steep learning curve, but don't recognize the fact.

Learning Curve Psychology

What are you an expert at now?  Now, think about when you first started that activity, sport, instrument, whatever.  Were you any good?  No.

Strangely, however, when it comes to life dreams, people lose site of the fact that we are all beginners at something when we first start.

There are two main reasons why people give up on these dreams.

  • First, the closer something is to our heart and greatest dreams, the more attached we often become to that goal.  Once extreme attachment creeps into a situation, things often get complicated and dysfunctional.  The entire religious philosophy of Buddhism tries to address the challenges of attachment.
  • Second, major life goals take more than a few weeks effort to achieve.  People give it a go, run into The Dip, and (especially if it is very important to them) give up in disgust and disappointment.

You aren't going to do this anymore.  There is a high learning curve to any activity worth mastering.  You are going to build the skills, become a master, and muscle through.  On the other side is the life of your dreams.  I'm not joking.

The Learning Curve Formula

If you want to accomplish something, but feel very far away from the goal or stuck, here are some strategies to help you start moving forward.  Most importantly, you just have to start and then keep stepping towards your dream.  

You will likely feel overwhelmed when you try to begin the journey.  Here are some strategies:

  • Organize: try to envision the big chunks of what needs to be accomplished.  Then break those chunks down to small pieces.  Next rank order in terms of chronological priority the big chunks. What needs to be done first?  What immediate step is the most important to take or the most feasible?  You know where to start.  So lean into it.
  • An even simpler way to organize is to write notes about what you need to do.  Jot down inspirations and ideas, next steps, whatever.  Note-taking software such as Evernote or Microsoft OneNote should help you organize your thinking.  I personally love Micorsoft Onenote.  My whole life is organized around that single piece of software.
  • Just pick something related to the project--any reasonable step--and do it.  It's sounds simple, but simply do what you feel like doing so long as it is related to your goal (not checking Facebook).  It may not be the key item to accomplish, but if it is part of furthering the cause, then do that.  By continually focusing on what you feel like doing and seems like it will be fun and interesting, you will just keep working.  You can work very long hours this way because it's like you are eating the Wheaties you want to eat--rather than force feeding the veges you think you should eat.  You still get to all the necessary steps, but this leads to massive productivity.
  • If you are really struggling, then just hurl yourself at any task related to your goal you can think of--even if you know you don't know what you are doing.  Just putting your attention and effort at the problem will slowly help grind out clarity.  I've had to do this a number of times when my goal was too big for me to break down into actionable steps. 

You Can Master The Learning Curve

Now, some optimism.  Whether your goal is learning how to invest or some other priority in life, with sufficient focus, you can move up the learning curve very quickly.  

I prefer laser-like focus and longer batches of hours to make progress as quickly and efficiently as is comfortable.  But it is really up to you which of the strategies outlined above make the most sense.

You can do this.  I'm certain of it.

The key is to start taking small steps and build up momentum.  Then go, go, go, go, go.