The Career cycle APE The three simple steps of an Expert
A- Aquire skills
eg learn to type, go to medical school, or surf the Internet for business skills
Until you have a skill, you cannot practice it. This stage requires humility and patience. Children, being smaller, manage humility more easily - they can accept their own insignificance. This makes it easier to learn. As adults we can easily think "I shouldn't be having to do this, not at my stage in life." This attitude is a barrier to learning.
To be a Great Expert you need talent, but do not underestimate how far hard work can take you.
Acquiring skills can take many forms. - From evening classes, to a university degree, to watching an expert at work.
There are four main ways to learn
I By Repetition - keep doing it - generally called "Training"
II By Association - by transferring skill from one area of your life to another, for example, if you know how to serve in a pub, it is easy enough to transfer those skills to serving in a shop. It is not the same but there are enough similarities to help the learning process
III From Experience - something happens to you and you learn from your experience. If you understand what has happened to you and why, you can stop making the same mistake again and again. At best, you can see what someone else has done and learn from their mistakes.
IV From Concepts or Principles - this is the point of an Education from a University. Education should give a person the principles from which they can learn what to do in a number of situations.
Knowing how to run a business means knowing how "to make the books balance". The need to understand and control cash flow will be the same whether you are a florist or running Microsoft.
Learning to Apply Principles is the hardest kind of learning. Not least because few concepts or principles are an exact model of the world - they need to be adapted for a specific situation.
Sound principles are those which are the most reliable and most accurately reflect the real world.
P - Perfect skills
This is where a person learns the finer details and nuances of their chosen skill - it is also the nub of the problem. Employers want people with "experience" that is people who have already perfected their skills. The hard part is getting "experience" - that is perfecting the skills. No one wants a "junior" to operate on their appendix, cut their hair or to be a guinea pig while someone else "Perfects" their skills. It is also known as the Learning Curve.
The quickest way to get experience, ie Perfect your skills is to offer your services for free and / or make it your chosen hobby. You have a day job, but at night you Perfect your chosen skill. For example, one day people will pay to read what I write. In the meantime, this blog helps me to "Perfect" my writing skills and sort out my ideas.
This is the stage of practice, practice and more practice! "Practise" is to Perfection, as "Location" is to Estate Agents and "Selection" is for finding the Right Partner
E - Exploit skills
This is the best bit - you are so good at what you have chosen to do, people even pay you for it. You are no longer tolerated as a bumbling idiot but you have put in so many hours of practice that people actually seek you out to do what you have learnt to do.
This is the doctor who knows how to make a diagnosis and understands what is needed to put the problem right. This is the tennis player who has spent enough time on the courts to start winning tournaments, the footballer who knows where the ball is going to go before he has even got possession. This is the typist who knows not just how to type but how to run an office.
Exploit skills means you continue to learn but at a higher level, your decisions now matter. As a doctor you kill or cure, you help or harm. As a shop assistant, you make the store money or you cost them money, as a teacher you inspire your pupils or you put them off learning for life.
This is the person who gets the job because of their experience as well as their skill. When talent and experience combine together, it is the first step in becoming an Expert.
Well done!!! You can take off your L plates and go from Learning to Earning. Your personal evolution has started.