Learning Is Hard, Especially When You Intend To Make A Living From What You're Learning.

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Now I know why my French isn't good despite my deliberate efforts and focus on learning it since 2009. It is because, just like everything else, it is difficult to master. Whoever learned it easily did so under conditions that made the hard work look easy. Maybe he was born in a French speaking country or had a lot of relatives who took turns in teaching and practicing with him. So when he hears someone else complain about how difficult it is to learn French he is surprised and lets them know that it is extremely easy.

image: hollybee42.wordpress.com

It's just like Microsoft Excel. I keep telling people that is extremely easy to use and master. I tell them that I never really learnt anything from the only one book I read about Excel. All my excellent knowledge of it came almost without my noticing it until people started commending me and reaching out to me for help. But I have been lying, though not deliberately. When I was on the job that forced me to use Excel everyday and make operations report of the company's business in 10 African countries and endless ad hoc reports, it was like hell at the beginning. For weeks, I would get to work early and close late, working 8 to 11 hours on Excel, and when I closed my eyes at night I saw Excel sheets filled with lots of data and scrolling endlessly. Even when I fell ill, and was at the hospital on drugs and drips, I was still making Excel reports for work. I had unknowingly paid the high price of hard work for mastering Excel.

And it is why I am not yet fluent in French. I have paid some price but it is not enough. Your hard work is only enough after it has taken you across the proficiency river. You can't put a time limit and also limit the resources to dedicate to it. When you are serious about learning a thing, then you just have to set only one limitation: that you won't quit till you've learned it no matter how long it takes you or what it costs you.

I have tried to peek into the future, in technology and regarding my business, and it looks obvious to me that I would greatly need and benefit from the ability to make the web and phone applications versions of my Excel work. Making my dashboards available online and accessible by smartphones, tablet and PCs. Also by being able to build web powered enterprise apps. I have taken the decision to learn that skill. It is going to be tough and slow but I am now more mentally prepared to give it all it would take.

Finally, I have renewed my commitment to learn French and gotten rid of my frustration about my progress. I won't stop until I become fluent in French even if it will take 10 years.

Learning is hard. It is different from trying this and that out. It requires a commitment to keep at it till you achieve competency at what you are learning, and how long or expensive it will take you should be of little concern. Just be prepared to give it all it requires.


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