Learning by doing

Taking the first step

Image: Jake Hills

There are some things in life we will only discover by doing. We could spend out lives reading book and articles, listening to the wisest of leaders and sages, but that will never lead us to everything in life we are meant to discover.

Some paths can only be discovered by exploring the unknown for ourselves. We can learn from the maps that others provide – indeed, these are a vital part of ensuring we don’t get horribly lost — but reading a map will never be the same as being out there, experiencing the paths and trails for ourselves. And yes, discovering paths and trails that others missed.

Take this writing project I’ve embarked on. I did not start out writing fully confident I would have something to say every single day. Far from it. The truth is that I’ve only discovered that I’m finding something to say by stepping out and saying things.

There comes a point for us all where the next step is no longer pursuing more knowledge or preparing further. Instead we have to step out into the unknown and face down our fears. We could, for example, spend our lives preparing for a new business venture — and we should fully prepare for something like that! — but there reaches a point where we simply have to start. We won’t get the necessary knowledge to make the next step without taking the first step.

So my encouragement today is to those of you who have perhaps been waiting a little too long. You’ve been reading and learning and practicing, but it’s now almost become an excuse for not starting. We will never know enough up front — that, for better or worse, is just how life works. It’s time to take some first steps. Don't let incomplete knowledge paralyse you from making the move you need to make.

Keep going!

Finding the right career path