My father has spent a couple of weeks studying to get a taxi driver’s license. He went for his first paid day yesterday, and drove a bunch of people all over the place.
As far as jobs go, I think it’s a pretty good one.
He said: “My brain is fried. I bet this is how you feel when you sit at a seminar for four days.”
I said “Yeah.”
That’s what happens when you take in a lot of information really fast.
Then it occurred to me: No, that’s not at all how I feel when I sit through a seminar.
Because in nearly all cases, I already have a framework in which to place all the new incoming information.
At a marketing seminar, for instance, I have already forgotten more than most people will ever know about marketing. That’s not bragging or exaggerating. That’s just how nerdy I am about marketing.
So whatever new marketing knowledge a speaker might throw at me, I’m ready for it. I have all the boxes neatly lined up in my brain, and as soon as the information gets processed, I know which box to put it in... and where to pull it out from when the time comes to apply it.
I also know what other pieces of information that it will go together with. Kind of like a wine expert will know what type of wine goes with fish compared to which type of wine goes with swedish meatballs.
Dad didn’t really know a whole lot about being a taxi driver, so he didn’t have the framework mapped out in his brain.
Laying out that framework is hard work. That’s what fries your brain.
And that framework? It is made out of fundamentals.
That’s why it’s so important to learn the fundamentals.
All the rookies wonder why they have to drudge through the boring stuff. In martial arts class, they don’t want to practice a standard punch 10,000 times. They want to do backflips and throw ninja stars.
This is why.
If I showed you the most advanced marketing strategy I knew, and you didn’t have the framework layed out ahead of time, your brain would explode. Your eyes would glaze over and it would be a total disconnect.
It’s not that you wouldn’t understand what I was saying. It’s that you couldn’t understand what I was saying.
A few posts back I talked about the three principles of being successful at anything, and one of them is “mastery of fundamentals.”
This is a huge reason why.
Everyone who is really good at anything started with the fundamentals.
Picasso was actually amazing at drawing things realistically before he started doing those crazy things he became famous for.
Then all the wanna-bes started drawing weird things and calling it “Modern Art.” Yet they couldn’t draw an apple to save their lives.
A lot of “advanced” things are about breaking the rules. Like Picasso broke the rules of painting. But you don’t get to break the rules until you’ve mastered them.
You can break the rules when you know the rules so well that you can make them your bitch.
Photo is Pablo Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon". Via fotopedia.