Being a Creator Forces You to Be a Super Learner

Tim Denning

The more creative paths you travel down, the more you learn about what paths are right for you.

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Creation involves learning.

What you create becomes lifeless without a healthy sense of learning. Right now, I’m reading six books at the same time. Those books, in case you’re interested, are:

  1. Layered Money
  2. The Innovation Stack
  3. The Almanack of Naval Ravikant
  4. The Price of Tomorrow
  5. Bitcoin: Hard Money You Can’t F With
  6. Keep Going: 10 Ways to stay creative in good times and bad

I read approximately 20+ blog posts a day. I’ve been doing that for 7 years. I typically watch 1-2 hours a day of Youtube videos about personal finance. Anything from Graham Stephen, to Real Vision, to Ivan on Tech, to Stansberry Research. I don’t share with you my reading and Youtube addiction to impress you. I know you don’t care.

The point is creators are super learners. We’re not trying to be superhuman and to work ourselves into the ground. We’re trying to find ideas we can riff on through the dedication and exploration of information.

I meet creators — entrepreneurs, vloggers, floggers, bloggers, artists, musicians, innovators, Tik Tokers — all the time who have run out of inspiration. Their idea machine has stopped working.

Super learners are idea machines.

Writer Ayodeji Awosika suggests we follow author James Altucher’s approach and become an ‘ideas machine.’ I agree with Ayo.

Writing down your ideas every day is a helpful practice. It’s rare you will ever create anything from scratch. Typically, you take an input such as an idea, and use it as the seed to create something brand new or radically different from the original thought. I write down ideas as soon as I come up with them and email them to myself. Even if the idea is stupid, I record it.

Sometimes the idea will get used.
Sometimes the idea will morph into a new idea.
Sometimes the idea will sit in my head for years before I ever end up using it.

The worst thing you can do is throw away your ideas. Creators are super learners that collect ideas, knowing they may become useful later. Your brain has an invisible ideas muscle. When you get into the habit of recording ideas, your idea muscle gets stronger. Pretty quickly you can do a Michael Thompson and take a random conversation, and turn it into a blog post that pays your rent for a year.

Creators need to get good at collecting ideas.

Super learners are experimenters.

Experiments are a great way to learn. You can hear about another person’s mistake and attempt to learn from them. But when you experiment, make a mistake yourself, and get left to pick up the pieces you learn a lot more.

I experiment in all areas of my life. I experiment at my job and see if I can find new ways to reach customers using all sorts of whacky techniques. I experiment with my fiancé using radical honesty to see if we can become stronger together.

I experiment with people who annoy me by seeing if I can give them a second chance and perhaps forgive them. I experiment with family, by being as generous as I can, to see if they understand what I’m trying to teach them. I get around and observe homeless people because I want to develop my level of empathy towards strangers, knowing there are many levels of empathy I still haven’t unlocked. I experiment in the world of writing too. I write about weird topics and try to push the boundaries of my research capability.

Many of my experiments fail or seem to lead nowhere. The learning I get is tremendous though. I learn a lot about what not to do. Experiments have helped me to learn what path I want to take in life and what paths I want to label as dead-ends.

The more paths you travel down, the more you learn about what paths are right for you. Despite the self-help industry, there is no one solution for every problem. Super learners use experiments to find tailored solutions to problems they extract value from later on.

Super learners invest money to gain leverage on themselves.

When you have money on the line you act differently. Lots of people preach advice they’ve never implemented themselves. If you want to test your resilience then invest dollars you’ve worked hard for.

I invested money into many blockchain projects to force myself to be interested to study them so I wouldn’t lose all my money. I invested money into assets like gold to see how much of a giant pain in the butt it can be. It’s the same reason many people buy online courses. Once you’re enrolled in a course you paid money for, it’s harder to be lazy and not put in the work.

The pain of losing money is more powerful than the joy of making money. Pain helps motivate you to become a super learner.

Before I can create something new, I first need leverage on myself to put in the effort needed to master a new skill. Money gives you leverage over a lazy habit you may have accidentally acquired. There’s nothing wrong with being temporarily lazy. You can simply get leverage on yourself by throwing money at your learning that will get you out of a slump.

Super learners aren’t smarter.

Nope. When you become a super learner it’s not because you’re smarter. Learning is a habit you program your mind to do, so it becomes automated.

You don’t need to be smart to create a habit.

All you need to do is commit to learning at the same time and duration each day. You begin with a short amount of time and increase the duration as the habit starts to form. Once you have a tiny learning habit you can turn it into a super learning habit. If you start with reading six books at a time then you’ll probably give up. If you start with reading one chapter of a book, that helps you learn a new skill each day, you’ll go far.

You can automate learning so it contributes to what you want to create.

The Mantra of Super Learners

Sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.

Super learners use liquid thinking, as opposed to illiquid, static thinking that goes moldy over time. Creating is a willingness to look like an idiot, so you can learn what you don’t know. You’re never 100% right as a super learner. There’s always another level to your thinking that you seek to slowly beat at your own pace.

Every experience carries a lesson you can learn from. Failures question your philosophies. Failures tug on your belief systems. Failures challenge what you think you’ve learned in a given field. Failure isn’t a form of porn. Failure is a form of education super learners use to create from.

The best part about being a creator is you are forced to make learning a priority. Otherwise this can happen:

  • Your creations begin to flop.
  • You begin to become bored with your art.
  • You run out of things you want to create.
  • You think you have all the answers so you stop creating.

Learning helps you to keep creating. That’s why you can schedule learning to channel new ideas into your upcoming creations.

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Aussie Blogger with 100M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship www.timdenning.com

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