Voluntary education is different from compulsory, the kind we grew up with.
When you're the victim/beneficiary of compulsory education, it happens to you. You have little choice. Perhaps you choose to open your mind and do the work, but either way, here it is.
Now that we're adults, though, we have choice. Endless choice. Most people choose to learn as little as possible, while a few dive in and find more insight, wisdom and opportunity than they could ever expect. Why do so many people hold back?
- "This might not work"
The truth is that you don't need a license, experience or skill to run a course online. You can post videos, write blog posts and generally just show up and announce you're teaching something.
As a result, there's a lot of reason for the buyer to beware. The student who spends time and money on a course that doesn't work feels stupid, even stupider than they did before they began. Hopes aren't realized and the disappointment in being ripped off is real.
The second reason is a bit more surprising…
- "This might work"
This is real, it's disappointing, and it's also the biggest reason people hesitate. We hesitate precisely because the course might deliver what it promises. Because a new experience, a workshop, an event might show you something you can't unsee. It might lead to forward motion, to new opportunities and to change.
But change brings risk and risk brings fear. Those new horizons, those new opportunities, those new skills–they might not be as comfortable as what you've got going on right now.
And so the challenge. We choose not to learn because it's either going to fail (embarrassing and expensive) or it's going to work (frightening). We get ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place of inaction.
The door is open to be heroic. To go on the journey from a place of fear. Not to wait for the fear to go away before you begin, but instead to begin precisely because there is fear.
Those that have successfully come before us have figured out how to make this leap. To feel (and embrace) these fears, not to deny them, and to dig in because and despite.
[As you might have guessed, I see this firsthand when I talk about the two workshops I run. Workshops that actually do what they promise. Tomorrow, Friday the 14th, is the last day for first priority applications for the altMBA fall session. And the Marketing Seminar has just about a week before we close the doors for the last scheduled session.]
The biggest hesitation is the fear of an open door.
The biggest challenge is the question we ask ourselves: Then what will I do?
That's why we're so eager to tweak the little things. Because the little things give us a little more of the same thing that we're already used to.
Hope to see you leap. Because it might work.