Start paying attention and stop cutting corners!

“You should start paying attention to your experiences and how much you’re getting out of them.”

That is something I’ve been telling myself lately because in the last two years I’ve been in many situations where I’ve had various experiences and quitting most of them after a specific period of time.

In short, I wasn’t finishing my experience.

But that’s not the worst thing that could happen.

Here’s a visual representation of a hypothetical process of learning and the experience behind it.

You see, the process is always clear. We have to start from where we are and then go through all the checkpoints until we reach the last one. But most of the time we’re not doing that. Most of the time we’re getting close to the checkpoint but we’re never reaching it.

And I think this is worse than what I was doing because I was only stopping after experiencing a specific portion of the whole process.

When you’re cutting corners (with other words, not reaching the checkpoint) your learning experience is destroyed because you’re not getting a real grasp of the important factors of the learning process.

But I’m not so sure about it. So here’s the question I’ve been thinking about lately: What is worse? To finish an experience but don’t really learn much or to go through only one-third of an experience and learn something?

Cutting corners in the modern world

One of the reasons we’re cutting corners (and the most important one) is the immense amount of information that we’re bombarded with.

For example, let’s say you want to learn how to speak in public and become able to clearly communicate a message in front of hundreds of people.

While you’re learning how to do that, maybe you find a book that touches the same subject and you start reading it. And you may say that the experience is the same but if, at first, you were learning about it in a non-formal workshop organized by some NGO, then that non-formal experience is going to be influenced and you may not be able to reach its important checkpoints.

And this is not as bad as it sounds.

It’s even worse when you’re trying to learn how to speak in public and suddenly you’re not doing it anymore because you lost your interest. And now, instead of learning public speaking, you’re playing video games, dancing, or traveling.

While video games, dancing or traveling aren’t bad experiences, your public speaking learning process was destroyed.

The thing is, the more information is stealing your attention, the more you’re going to be distracted from what you want to do. And considering the way things are evolving nowadays, I believe it’s going to be harder and harder to stay focused on a learning experience that requires more than two days of time investment.

Other reasons for cutting corners

While the bombardment with information seems to be the core reason for cutting corners, there are other reasons that are worth paying attention to.

  • You are in a rush

This may be mistaken for the enthusiasm of wanting to learn more and more and it usually happens to really passionate people.

But being in a rush because you’re passionate is more of an excuse. Become conscious of what you want to learn and realize that you have the time (you really have it) to learn everything you want to learn. Just be patient.

  • You care only about yourself

In this case, the process of learning is not existent because you only care about yourself, but not from a learning point of view.

For example, you’re going through a course because at the end of that course you’re getting a diploma which you can use later to get some money or some job. Therefore, you don’t learn anything because you’re not focused on learning.

  • You’re not interested in the journey

In this case, you only care about the final result and you won’t be able to reach the final result if you don’t care about the journey.

For example, if you want to become a public speaker but you don’t care about the journey of becoming a public speaker, you won’t become one.

The more you cut corners…

… the less you’ll be able to focus on something for a longer period of time;

… the more you’ll want to switch between learning experiences because you’ll feel bored;

… the less you’ll become knowledgeable in a specific industry or environment.

Stop cutting corners if you really care about your learning experiences.

With love and optimism,
David