Wednesday, August 31, 2005
One of the newsletters I read is "Excess Voice". It is about writing online by Nick Usborne, author of "Net Words". His offering from yesterday included some interesting observations on the subject of life-long learning ...a key to success in our 'information age'.
Nick makes his living by writing. So as you read what he shares about how to keep on learning and why, note how he does it.
If you'd like more of Nick's wisdom, you can sign up for his a bi-weekly newsletter here.
By the way, I stipped all the code out of Nick's original e-mail article and transferred it here in about thirty seconds by using a wonderful little program called emailStripper. (You also can use it to practise 'netiquette' by stripping all those irritating 'jaggies' from the e-mails you send to friends.) emailStripper is available for free from here. I suggest you check it out.
Now here's Nick ...
"I learned most of what I know about the craft of copywriting in about three years, from the age of twenty-one to twenty-four.
"What I learned launched my career and provided a living for the following fifteen years or so.
"The second spike of learning has taken place over the last ten years, largely due to the arrival of the web and the unique challenges it represents.
So why didn’t I learn anything for the fifteen years before the web?
"Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Of course I learned a great deal, from every new job I worked on. But the foundation of my knowledge remained the same.
"Those first three years gave me skills and an approach that worked. And because they worked, that’s what I applied, job after job and year after year.
"I was good at what I did and essentially applied the same learning time and time again.
"In once sense, that’s OK. But if the web hadn’t come along, would I have ever learned more...in the sense of growing my underlying understanding of the craft?
If the world doesn’t kick you, kick yourself.
"The timing of the arrival of the web was perfect for me. It came at a time when I was probably stagnating a little.
"But what if there is no major upheaval or new medium around to force you to review and grow what you already know?
"What if you have been a copywriter for five years now, and started out well into the Internet boom?
"What if the business world fails to give you such a kick in the pants that you HAVE to learn more, and in a hurry?
"You have to find a way to kick yourself.
Some ways to kick yourself
"Here are a few ways to give yourself a good kicking.
"First, try something completely new, something that will challenge and stretch everything you think you might know.
"For instance, if you write brochures and ads for a living, launch yourself into some direct marketing work. Or vice versa.
"This may sound contrary to the idea of sticking to your niche. However, anything that can rattle your knowledge-cage is a good thing, and will help you grow in all areas.
"Also, if you are employed and always working on the same products or services, do some moonlighting work. Freelancing on the side will bring you into contact with other industries and new people. It’s a great way to expand your knowledge.
"Here’s something different. If you are a copywriter, why not put your skills to the test and launch your own side business? Use your copywriting skills as a means of creating a whole new stream of income. Believe me, nothing focuses the mind so clearly as copywriting for a product or service when it’s your own money on the line.
"It is all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking you know “enough”. Yes, what you already know might be sufficient to earn a living. But there is always more to learn.
"And if you are anything like me, you’ll find that life can get pretty dull if you’re not learning something new on a regular basis.
(c) 2002-2005, Nick Usborne. All rights reserved. Excess Voice is published by Nick Usborne at 11580 Avenue Claude-Legault, Apt 2, Montreal, QC H1G 4P8, Canada. Reproduced here with permission. Reproduction of material from Excess Voice without written permission is prohibited.
Now It's Your Turn!: What do you think and how do you feel about what Nick shares above? What tip can you share about how you jog your learning? (My 'Comment Section', in which you can share anonymously, will open to you when you click on "Comments" immediately below this post.)
Until next time, how can I help you? (You can contact me by clicking here. Also, contact me directly to be added to Patton Associates’ S-M-A-R-TBriefing™ Mailing List. Check out recent samples here.)