Why More Knowledge Won't Make You More Successful
Since our youth, we think knowledge is power. Our education system evaluates students according to how much information they can pack in their minds. But that's not the case.
In today's climate of starting a business, it's tempting to think that learning more will increase our competitive advantage. We are able to bring our knowledge to a satisfactory level with thousands of online courses offered 24/7 that we can access at any time of the day. Like the digital marketing of blindfolded origami, there is definitely a course for this somewhere. The truth is, 80% of American companies offer online courses to their employees. The founder of Jotform, a software company founded in 2006, thinks that more information may make us more successful. Here are Aytekin Tank's views on this subject from his own pen. As the CEO of my own firm, I'm no stranger to the feeling that I should always be learning about certain topics. Even while writing this article right now, I have downloaded hundreds of articles from the internet. I can't help but think that I will miss a good piece of thought or an innovation that could change the rules of the game in my industry.
But, as it turns out, academic performance doesn't always mean success later on, and more knowledge doesn't equal more entrepreneurial power.
Take a look at these student examples; Steve Jobs' high school grade was 2.65, and J. K. Rowling barely reached the C average at college. Both have revolutionized their respective fields. Because what matters is not how much you have learned, but your ability to strategically internalize and apply what you have learned. So, before enrolling in a new online course, I want to give you some ideas for learning with an eye toward quality rather than quantity.
1- Don't just memorize new information, use them
Many of us associate learning with remembering a lot of information. But real learning requires a deeper level of understanding.
Ben Orlin, an educator and associate of The Atlantik, writes:
“Memorizing is only a secondary way: it goes along with the best parts of learning but never overlaps. It goes around all action, a way to know without learning and respond without understanding. ”
According to the Bloom Classification, the learning hierarchy system used by K-12 (Kindergarten to Grade 12) teachers and college educators, the highest level of education is used when creating something using new knowledge, original material or can be reached while generating and planning ideas. This is probably why the most successful entrepreneurs in the world immediately put their acquired knowledge into practice, intersecting with creative experimentation.
Consider learning a new language. If you are learning a foreign language, word memorization will surely help you. but real learning happens when you start using words. You really learn when you write a letter or express yourself, for example by rearranging words and making the correct verb conjugation. Anyone who specializes in a second language will say that when you start expressing your ideas in this new language, you will truly learn that language.
2- Approach new areas with a fresh mind
Sometimes we need to forget our old knowledge before we start learning something new. Otherwise, we fall into the trap of evaluating new information within our existing system.
That's why I always recommend the “entry-level mind” to beginner entrepreneurs. So, the idea of the Buddhist Zen philosophy of treating everything as if you knew nothing.
Because with the beginner's mind, you can ignore the assumptions you might have, including limitations, and see the myriad possibilities.
"There are many possibilities in the minds of beginners, but there is room for less in the mind of the expert," wrote Shunryu Suzuki, the Zen Buddhist monk.
It is not always easy to effectively forget what you already know. You can focus on questions, not answers, to reach the minds of beginners. No matter how much you know about the subject, keep your mind open and try to evaluate all points of view.
Instead of following the path of your first impression, consider many perspectives such as "yes", "no", and "maybe" before making a decision.
In this way, you will not only identify blind spots in your knowledge, but also learn to approach new areas with humility and curiosity.
3- Maximize your learning experience for enjoyment
When we were children, the main source of learning was our curiosity. We learned to eat, crawl, walk, and talk out of an innate interest. But when we start school, learning becomes a chore, we have to learn whether or not something concerns us.
Only by pursuing what really interests us, we can learn more effectively. For this reason, researchers have been researching "science of interest" in recent years. They say, "Interest can help us think more clearly, understand more deeply, and understand more accurately."
Interests can even help people overcome academic difficulties or cognitive barriers. According to one study, students who score low on achievement tests but are interested in reading or math are more likely to work in these areas later than students who are not interested in them but score higher.
As entrepreneurs, we must focus on what our real interests are. We can reduce our focus on less of our interest or assign tasks or projects to people who are interested in these topics, as I will discuss below.
4- Know when to transfer the business to someone else
As every successful entrepreneur knows, you cannot tackle all the jobs on your own, you have to turn things over to others in order to grow your business and become an effective leader. This is the only way you can focus on bigger issues or your real interests.
I myself, as a rule, surely transfer the work to that person who I know can do better, that is, I can get better results in a shorter time. For example, instead of educating myself about every update that comes out, I believe my designers will learn and know the latest practices and techniques.
My company, JotForm, was founded on the idea of companies where their time is very important to transfer their online form needs to us. Instead of spending their precious time specializing in coding, our 5 million users rely on our employees who specialize in many programming languages, graphic design and other web-based disciplines. Thus, they can spend more time focusing more comfortably on their company's mission and objectives.
For many entrepreneurs, constantly reading, researching and gathering information can create a false sense of accomplishment.
However, when it comes to learning, sometimes less is actually more. Because for a leader, less information can mean more quality and increased productivity. Therefore, concentrate on areas that really interest you, try to embrace the open mind of the beginners, and delegate work that is not so valuable to you and that doesn't interest you. And don't forget to put any knowledge you acquire into practice as soon as possible.