Cost of Learning

I know I haven’t been writing for a long time now, but I just wanted to find a quick way to get back on the horse and share with you something that has worked for me in the last couple of years, to then find out that I’m not alone in this quest.

Some may call it investing, some may call it education, I kicked the tires and called it “cost of learning”.

2 years ago, I had recently graduated form college, was working in a well known corporate office, read tons of books about business and innovation, but it all wasn’t cutting it.

Not that books, a good job and a college degree are not good, don’t take me wrong, I think that these experiences have helped me in a big way in my life. But I still felt like I needed to learn more about business. I could’ve taken an MBA, changed jobs or read more books, but I went the hard-nosed, head-into-the-wall way and started my own business. How cool! Some may say, how stupid! Some other may say. At the end of the day, I was most of all paying my dues, my “cost of learning”.

Knowing all the terms and saying what I would do in certain business situations felt hollow. The way it is easy to say if I were managing a sports team, I would’ve made such and such changes, and would’ve won the championship… Right, but you weren’t there, and you didn’t have to make that decision.

My cost of learning to become a business owner was paid outright, at first scary because of all of the complications that come with it. Some questioned my decision to quit and venture myself into the abyss. Some still do, telling me that I should’ve waited, or taunt me that I had it coming for me being the way I am. If you know me closely, you then know that my business, in the end, failed.

Smile up, don’t be sorry, I paid my cost, I learned, and I was never down when it happened, because when I went into it, I knew there was a very high probability that this would happen. But there was also a very high probability that I would learn a lot. I am a much better person than I used to be, and have more knowledge about business that no business school was ready to teach me, and no book could actually teach me. Not that they don’t know or don’t say it in their contents, but you actually have to be there and make things happen in order to learn. You have to make big decisions every day, and all management, finance, marketing, sales, HR, operations and such depend on you. The buck stops on you, now I know. I did lose money, but the cost I paid for such important life lesson was minimal, and I am still alive. I encourage you to take risks, because nowadays being safe is the riskiest thing you can do.

I don’t write this to tell you a story about myself, but to push you into taking risks and pay the “cost of learning”. It may not look as pretty as it should because you must pass through some tough, and I mean tough moments, but in the end you will become a much better person.

Compared to these guys… I had it easy…

You Have Two Options

In the past four months I have been writing to you about sports, business and their correlation, and what does it take to be the best in both worlds. Today, I’d like to wrap all of this up for my last Blog post. It has come a point in my life where I believe the best thing to do is to get myself down to business and create my own destiny. And that is one big lesson for everyone, do not fall into “analysis paralysis“, because reading all the books, attending all the seminars, asking all the questions is not good at all, in fact it is worth nothing, if you don’t execute.

In my final blog, I’d like to discuss the options that you have in life, and they are after all, only two:

1) Being part of the best (approx. 5%)

2) Being part of the rest (approx. 95%)

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?

I really have no interest in going into detail on how to become part of the rest, so if you are interested in knowing about that, I suggest either listen to the rest, or do exactly the opposite as I say.

If you picked option number one like me, follow along.

In case you were wondering what are the system requirements to achieve greatness, I have great news for you; NONE.

You were born just fine!

Stop believing that you must be born with a special skill or you need to have money to do something with your life. That is just an excuse not to do it. Do not be the kind of person who is looking for excuses not to do things. I often hear people saying, “I’ll sit and wait a year to see if my job gets any better, and if it doesn’t, then I’ll look for another job or for something else to do”. Life is too short to live it doing something you don’t like. My high school baseball coach had a phrase for people who make up excuses, and it may sound a little harsh, but it goes like this: “Excuses are like asses, we all have one, and they all stink!”. So when we were ready to say why we didn’t make the play, we knew we had to either have a really good excuse, or to take the blame. So get out there and live in a world where excuses don’t have a place!

You can’t hire someone else to do your pushups for you.

You must realize that no one is going to do anything for you. Jim Rohn once said “You can’t hire someone else to do your pushups for you”. If it is in the gym, sports, business or entrepreneurship, you have to do your own work, and don’t expect the stars and planets to align for things to happen for you. If you really want something, then go out there and get what you want. If you want to be the best baseball player, you have to train and adjust more than anyone else. If you want to be the best salesperson, you have be out there selling during extra hours, on weekends and researching to unerstand your customer.

Some advice my Dad gave me has helped me a lot in sports and in my life. He always says it up until today. “If you are not the best in your team, and you practice the same amount of hours than them, then you are never going to be the best”. So for that you should be doing a lot more than your competition in order to be better than them. You see sports players working out extra hours to be better than others, same thing applies to business, if you make a better effort than you competition, chances are that you will win, because it is not about who is better, but about who wants it more. And please, don’t compare yourself with people around the block, it’s too easy, compare yourself with the best around the world.

Be careful on who’s advice you take

If your friends are the kind of people who say “you can’t do that, only a few people can”, that only means THEY CAN’T do it, it doesn’t mean you can’t. And then you have to make a choice, to stop being friends with people who are only harmful to your motivation, or fuel it to shut their mouths and prove them wrong. Do not surround yourself of settlers or losers, because they will never be a source of motivation to do better. On the opposite, when you surround yourself of positive, enthusiast, energized people, they will never allow you to go down. They will push you one step further and will come up with new things to do, because they have a different way of looking at life. They truly believe that anything can get done with the right effort.

It’s not easy, and you will fail at times.

It is never going to be easy. You can see people that make it look easy, because they are so good at what they do, but that doesn’t mean that they were born doing that. If you are expecting success to be easy, then don’t expect success. You must have dedication, discipline, motivation, school smarts (if you can. If you can’t afford it, look for free education, it’s out there!), street smarts, and unselfishness.

You will go down at times, it doesn’t matter how good and tough you are, you will go down at times. But I’ve got good news for you: when you do go down, you will get experience, and feel good about learning, and the next time an issue arises, you will be ready for it. PLEASE DO NOT QUIT when you go down, some people are so scared of failing again that quit and settle for something less than they really wanted. When you are down, learn as much as you can, get stronger, better and ready for your next battle. When you are down, you mean nothing to everyone else, except for yourself, so you are the one and only one responsible for bringing yourself up, and to be honest, you are the only one person you should be trying to prove in the first place. Increase your mental toughness, stay positive no matter what and know that failure is not for you. One of my best friends said this to me the other day: “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear to failure” – B. Cosby. Again, surround yourself with positive people, and do not be scared of failing, it will do you no good. Take risks.

There is a difference between failing and quitting.

Failing is trying and not achieving, while quitting is stopping and not trying at all. I suggest that you fail more than usual, and look for ways to fail. Not only to fail more, but fail faster. The more you fail, the smarter you get, the faster you do it, the faster you learn and are ready to achieve greatness. I can already see some people saying that’s the worst advice in history, but it is all for your own learning and understanding. When you know where you are going, you have a straight objective. Maybe you want to go to the NBA, MLB, become an entrepreneur, become a billionaire, God knows. Once you have found out what you want to do, identify what you need to do… start failing.

NBA want-to-be players miss thousands of last minute shots, make different dribbles and passes, different ways of blocking for a rebound, to name a few. The reason they do this is because by finding out how many ways it wont work, you get closer to knowing what will work. If you don’t know where you are going, then take a day, a week or a month to yourself, just to think about what you really want, the answer is inside of you. Don’t worry if you are not in your twenties or in your thirties, In the US, there are twice as many entrepreneurs older than 50 than younger than 25, if entrepreneurship is of your interest. In sports, I suggest you read about Vince Papale, and you will know what I am talking about.

Do not look at the past.

For me it’s easier to say, since I am in my twenties, but I often see people (even at my age) not willing to get over the past. The past is way back there, and there is where it should stay. Don’t allow your past fears or failures take place in your future endeavors. If you failed in the past, it only means you now learned and know what to do. If you were too good in the past and are not so good anymore, don’t be the victim of your own success, you can do it again, get back on your feet and move forward.

If you think success comes over night, you are right. Success does come over night, but after years and years of hard work!

This is all for me ladies and gentlemen, I truly appreciate your support and good comments during this endeavor, and if I made a change in at least one person, I am satisfied. I wish you all the best in life, and I hope you all achieve greatness, whatever that may be for you.

Thanks and best wishes,

Twitter: @asanvicente

Email: asanvicente@live.com