You know, I love education.
I’m not talking about formal education. I’m talking about learning stuff. I never got a college degree, and frankly, I probably never will.
I like to educate myself. I like to buy books or find websites or online videos that teach me something I need to know now. I like filling my head with things that will push me, my parenting abilities, my professional life, my relationships, or anything else in the right direction. People who get to know me think I’m multi-talented, or even a jack of all trades. I don’t think so. I just spend a lot of time studying and practicing anything and everything that interests me until I become good at them. It’s what I do. I like to know things. I like to know how to do things. It’s not more complicated than that.
But, sometimes I think that what you don’t know just might help you. I know that has been the case for me in the past. Many times.
Take, for example, this blog. I didn’t know it was “impossible” for it to grow as fast as it did. I had never been “educated” about blogs, their development, or their potential. I didn’t know that Daddy blogs were hard to grow at all. I didn’t know that nearly a quarter million visitors in a single day (which is what I was getting at the peak) was unbelievable. So, when it started happening, I didn’t pull in the reins, and I didn’t do anything but push it further faster.
Until, that was, I got “educated.” When the peak of this blog’s growth was going on, there was no shortage of people who felt it their duty to let me know that what was going on wasn’t really possible or doable. I let their voices sink in, and I immediately stopped doing some of the things I had been doing. I stopped believing some of the things I had been believing. And I started knowing that I couldn’t expect it to go on like that, and that I couldn’t keep the momentum going. That “knowledge” put the brakes on, and traffic immediately dropped.
Looking back, I wish I would have foreseen that those voices were coming so that I could properly avoid them. It reminds me of the time when I went back to school to work on a degree in art. At that point I was making a pretty phenomenal income drawing people’s animals, as well as selling prints of my own things.
Then, I went to school and I signed up for my first art class. I sat through the first day and listened as the teacher taught me how to “draw.” You see, I taught myself how to draw, and with a lot of practice I was pretty damn good at it.
I tried to listen to his tips and techniques, but I found that they slowed me down, and actually made drawing more difficult. A few days into class, the teacher stopped by my desk and decided to tell me I was doing it all wrong. I tried to explain to him my own method that was working for me. He replied with harsh criticism.
I dropped out of school that afternoon.
Why? Simple… I had a way that was working, and was working well. To stay in school for art would be to ruin what I’d built for myself. It would hurt me, far more than it would help me. It didn’t take me long to figure that out.
So, why didn’t I have the brass to keep the negative voices of the blogosphere out of my head? I don’t know. I just wish I would have given them all the same polite hand gesture and kept doing what I was doing, drawing what I was now drawing.
There have been plenty of other times when not knowing has helped me far more than it’s hurt me. What are some times when not knowing has helped you?
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing