We will never stop learning “new”

We live in an age where we will never stop learning “new”. Professions are either advancing or retracting, forcing constant change. New technologies force a state of continual adaptation. Social media, smart phones, paperless processes, and automated payments are all relatively recent phenomena that have become every day.

Staying in a familiar field means we might learn in incremental steps. If our field becomes stagnant, we might push ourselves by learning a hobby such as kite surfing or guitar. If we decide to move to a new career, we may take ourselves offline to get a degree to “level up” before re-entering the system.

One of the unique characteristics of being an entrepreneur is the amount of “new” that you have to do. Ideally (to the point of mandatory), you have some domain knowledge and networks in the field you want to create a new business. As it is, a first-time founder will upskill in all areas of sales, operations, admin, finance, legal, and more. This is one of the functions of what is referred to as the startup ecosystem, to reduce waste and make the process of learning “new” as efficient as possible and hopefully contribute towards a greater likelihood of entrepreneur success.

In the past 12 months, I have done a fair amount of “new”. I have created a consultancy, a software platform company, and a not for profit; progressed a PhD; and prepared for a national tour. Every day I encounter something I need to learn, experience uncertainty as to whether I am doing it “right”, and reconcile with not having the answers.

This is top of mind as I spend the afternoon coming up to speed on my video kit for the tour, including a drone, a 360 camera, and digital camera. The digital camera alone has over 135 menu items. The 360 camera by comparison has a single button, but that does not make it less challenging to learn. This is outside of learning basics of photography so I can be a rudimentary photographer instead of just a camera user. Then there’s learning to fly the drone, which I can get fined over $9,000 if I don’t do it right.

But the way we learn has progressed as rapidly as our need to consume education. I cannot imagine coming up to speed on everything I need to know without the countless tutorials and online manuals available at a few mouse clicks. My PhD process has been a matter of searching tens of thousands of journal articles, sorting and codifying them for consumption in new ways after I add my contribution.

I expect we are only a few generations away from being able to plug in matrix-style to gain new knowledge direct to our brains. Our ability to eliminate barriers to instant gratification are unparalleled, and at some point we will overcome the suffering associated with learning. It will be interesting to see the long-term impact of this, as suffering and expanding the brain muscle is a key aspect of embedding new knowledge.

Until then, I ask for your patience if you see me wandering around fumbling with a camera, pressing my 360 button and wondering why nothing happens, and chasing after a rogue drone. I promise to offer the same grace as we all continue to inflict our attempts at “new” upon the world.

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American & Australian, playing in the cross-section of people, business and digital, with a passion for discovering how we all tick

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Chad Renando

Chad Renando

American & Australian, playing in the cross-section of people, business and digital, with a passion for discovering how we all tick

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