Take Responsibility For Your Learning

I grow more and more concerned at the increase in the amount of people I see and hear about that simply refuse to take responsibility of their own learning. They seem to think that simply buying an ebook or course is going to magically make them rich or that buying a few ‘HOW TO’ DVDs they are going to be the next Yanik Silver or John Reese. It blows me away…

When these people don’t instantly get rich because of a $37 ebook, then they bring out the big guns. They start blaming like there is no tomorrow.

“The info was crap”

“It’s too hard”

“It doesn’t work”

The funny thing is, when asked, most people didn’t even read the whole thing, if any at all!

Come on!

I believe they just think that buying it and putting it on their hard drive is a magic pill. Maybe some of them even print out the ebook, roll it up, and wave it around like Harry Potter trying to cast a spell of success on themselves.

I know when something I bought hadn’t worked for me, I can look back now and see what I DID to make it fail. Either I didn’t totally read the product or I didn’t actually do what it said or I quit halfway through or any other list of things I was responsible for.

It takes time and effort. Jay and I have bought hundreds of ebooks, CDs, DVD, and misc. info products about doing business on the internet.

In our mastermind groups we constantly trade info. We tell each other about latest book, course, audio or DVD that had an impact on our knowledge.

It took us YEARS of study and taking action to make it all work. Had we thought there would be a magic bullet or a real million dollar ebook we would have been disappointed very quickly, quit the business, said it was all a fraud, and resigned ourselves live a miserable life working for the Man.

Okay, so maybe I ‘hoped’ some of them would make me an overnight success story, but I realized that the promise of ‘get rich quick’ were for people who didn’t really want long lasting success, they just wanted to win the lottery…

Please, for your own sake, don’t fall into the trap of blaming others for your lack of knowledge, success, wealth, etc. Once you take responsibility for your own learning and realize it is going to be a journey and not a destination. Only then can the real ‘magic’ happen.

Come on, be honest, have you ever bought a course thinking, “This is the one, this is the one that will make me millions”, only to have it spend it’s time residing under the bed, unopened? Then, think to yourself, “Hey, that course didn’t work at all!”?


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  1. I think Staples has gotten it right, everyone wants the Easy button.

  2. Yes, unfortunately it’s the reality out there. It’s just like the story of 5 frogs on the pond: 4 decided to jump, how many were left? Because there’s a really big difference between deciding and doing.

    You can’t eat bread when it’s half-baked, same is true when you prepare for success.

  3. Sometimes the truth hurts. Way to tell it like it is Sterling!

  4. “All the success plans work, but you have to actually DO them.”

  5. Great article!

    I did a piece with a similar message recently: http://streetlessons.com/432-learning-is-a-journey-you-stupid-xxxx.html


  6. Darren says:

    I say the following words jokingly as we all need to make light of ourselves on occasion. I have been a big fan of your program and website and contribute when I can. Again, I say the following with all the kindness in my heart.

    Guys, it has become obvious you both need to stop reading and get back to work :) Here is what I mean.

    I have been listening to you since inception and just off the top of my head you have had 4 earth shattering books that have changed your worlds!

    Well, each one is supposed to get you focused again or get back more time or alter your daily struggles or get your whites whiter or whatever the philosophy du jour is and I have to laugh because according to you two the previous book was suppose to be the one that did it for you, that was the book that turned your life around.

    The latest book you read in a day and what purpose did that serve spending an entire day reading that book when in a month you will report on another book that has gotten you “focused” again.

    Here is the best tip a non-interested 3rd party could give you,,,
    The books are what is killing you! No wonder you need to refocus, your spending all day reading productivity books instead of being productive!

    Just one mans whimsical opinion.



  7. Darren – Interesting point you made.

    Here is one more thing that I will add to the fire… out of all the truly successful and productive people I have known, not one of them has ever read a book on how to do it, they just do it!

    It is the same here in Madrid, I was stuck reading about how to learn the language whilst other english speakers were in Madrid just doing it.

    However, not everyone on the planet can be naturally super-productive etc… so for those people (myself included), we have to acknowledge our weaknesses and improve them.

    That said, doing will ALWAYS be more valuable than reading.


  8. @Darren & Dean,

    Just the opposite here. Everyone I know that has any bit of success are big readers. The ability to gleen how to do things from others means you can skip steps and power walk ahead of all the poor sods figuring every single thing out on their own. I have one friend that cannot take advice. He has to learn everything the hard way. It is so painful to watch. He refuses to learn from others and in return is ages behind those of us who can take instructions and learn from others mistakes.

    But, there is a trick to how you read and learn from others… You have to take action ASAP! For instance, with the Tim Ferriss Book, I had a huge revelation on page 24. I put the book down and started taking action. I wanted to read on as it was fascinating, but I know that simply reading great info means nothing if you don’t take action. Consume info, take action, action, action, and consume more info once the action has been taken.

    As far as getting back on track, well, that is a different thing. The reason we where distracted wasn’t cause of reading a whopping 4 books, (By the way, I sometimes read 2 books a week, so 4 books would generally take under a month to read), it was because it is hard to turn off the idea machine. That means I have 100 ideas that need action taken on them and not enough time to do even 5 of them! That was where Jay and I where running into problems, not reading a couple books!  :)

    Each book is not doing the same thing! If it wasn’t for Rich Dad, Poor Dad I wouldn’t be here today! I would still be trudging along, working my butt off doing something I get no fulfillment from. I didn’t KNOW there was another way. I was lucky enough to have a really smart and successful friend recommend the book to me! That is what Jay and I are doing, recommending things that have made huge differences in our lives. Really, had I not read that book life would suck for me right now…

    I’m actually amazed it has only been 4ish books, considering I have read over a 40 books this year so far! Just goes to show that most books aren’t worth recommending, but I always learn something or I put the book down… Course I don’t always read business books or inspirational books, to be fair.

    Progression is learning one thing then finding something even better. Progression: Roll over, Crawl, Baby Steps, Walk, Run!

    Darren – I know your post was supposed to be tongue in cheek, sort of, and point taken, but I wanted to clear up any misconceptions – just in case.

    I read, take action and move on. If it takes me 2 days to read a book, 3 days to take action, then the knowledge and action changes my life forever – was it worth it?? I would say so!

  9. Darren says:

    Guys my post was to make light. I wish I could pull the 5 or 10 pages out of each book that I have read ahead of time too ( can someone say “Executive Reading Summary”?). It was just amusing listening to the opening of the latest podcast with another title. BTW, if you makes you feel any better I read RDPD, GTD, & Why you are poor prior to taking on your training so I have drunk the cool-aid too!! :)

    My post was just to add some humor to the show. Text cannot rely context or intent so I want to make sure you guys know I was just making a funny!


  10. Darren says:

    Wow my grammar and spelling was poor on that post! Anyway, thanks and keep on keepin’ on!

  11. To all, your points are all well taken and very much accurate. To further this point, I also feel that in addition to taking action once one has gained information whether from a book, individual, blog post etc… It is just as important to focus any action you take on the specific goal you have set for yourself and STAY THE COURSE. Don’t give up so easily after the first ebook didn’t work. Stick with it and obtain the knowledge necessary based on your focus/niche and keep working at it until you find the success you’re seeking. A lot of newer marketers keep trying the latest “it” ebook, dvd, video, seminar, etc. and move on if the instant gratification/riches seemingly promised by the product doesn’t come “instantly”. I found a similar article about this very subject here: http://www.affiliatekb.com/articles/guru-guides.html

    Sterling & Jay, please continue to keep up the excellent work!!

  12. I’m jumping in late on this thread but here’s another 2 cents. While Darren’s comments were meant in some jest, there is also a point in it, though countered eloquently by Sterling & Jay. There are “perpetual students” (Darren’s point.) Sterling and Jay are clearly action oriented, so they don’t fit that descirption.

    I am a fan of reading books to improve any aspect of my life (business or personal). The thing is that page 24 may change your life and page 62 may change my life. We’re all unique creatures so we can get unique things out of them. But, at the end of the day (over used cliche) books are a great tool, and I won’t stop reeading them, except I spend too much time on the internet and not enough time reading books! :-)

  13. Darren says:

    Bernie nailed it!

    Too much time on the internet and not enough reading books!
    Thats good stuff!

    Although I have become a huge fan of books on CD in order to free up more time for the internet :)


  14. Sterling & Jay,

    First, let me say thanks for doing what you guys do. Your podcast and blogs have been an inspiration for me for well over 6 months, so much so that I am close to launching my own web site. We have our beta site up now at the url.

    I have a question on autoresponders. How did you guys learn how to write your own effective autoresponder scripts for different goals. Is there anything out that you would recommend to use as a template for what works and what doesn’t.

    Thanks for your help!


    Art Espey

  15. I like this exponential progression here:

    “Progression is learning one thing then finding something even better. Progression: Roll over, Crawl, Baby Steps, Walk, Run!

    Next would be ride a bike and then drive a car, so that what was once a range of a carpet, a room, a house, a block, a neighborhood, a city, a country.

    The best part about reading and learning from others is getting it right quickly, if you never read a lick on creating landing pages, for example, and tried to figure it all out on your own then you are a fool.

  16. I’m a bit late on the replies to this post but I wanted to chip in with an opinion that has yet been voiced here.

    First, I totally understand where Sterling is coming from. I did a stint working for a university and I can still remember those haunting voices “but you didn’t say this would be on the test, how unfair!” So I’m all about taking responsibilty for your own education.

    However, I do beleive that we as internet marketers need to remember *our* responsibilty to the consumer – don’t promise the world.

    We spend so much time digging and rooting out the tactics and methods that are going to convert a Lead that we sometimes forget that we are really fine-tuning emotional and (sometimes) intellectual manipulation. And that’s alright, that’s what sales and marketing is all about. We just need to make sure that we can look at ourselves in the mirror every morning.

  17. I agree, ebooks and courses aren’t going to make you rick by themselves. If all you needed was an education to gurantee financial freedom then every educated person would be an millionaire. I do think that having lots of people around you that think the same way you about your projects and ideas will help you in your success and create synergy in you efforts.

  18. Darren et al:

    People learn in different ways. With some, reading a book can enhance one’s perspective, while others learn through real life experience. There is no reason to devalue one over the other.

    I do like the wording of your explanation though: STOP READING BOOKS! Ha!

    You have to assume that there is going to be a certain amount of dramatization for each book and realize that each one is not really changing lives and business practices, although they may change outlooks on life.

  19. Well, the main point is understand the success journey is going to take time and education and your own responsibility to take action on your learning and DO what you learn. I had planned to do a series on this subject, like the degrees of quicker success. I think people that have to solely learn from life experience succeed the slowest on up to people that can learn from others mistakes and advice and skip steps can succeed the fastest. All of this is certainly coupled with taking action on that education and advice, that is a given.

  20. Darren says:

    Well I sure did drop a piranha in the kiddie pool on this one! And it sure did get people talking which is the point I guess. On one hand you have academics who have a predisposition to one school of thought ( no pun intended!) and the hard knocks guys ( like me) that think you learn by doing.

    Again, my entire post was in jest and I as the poster I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that this was a joke to begin with!

    All in all I am happy to see opinions about the topic and I hope to stir up the bee’s nest in future editions :)


  21. @ Darren,

    Yes, in the future please do! It makes for interesting comments! I knew you were doing it in jest, as you actually said in the original comment, but I wanted to address the comment as if it were not. This would help people who did think that way and make for more people wanting to add their 2 cents, which it did!

    It’s funny how loose our language is, since one sentence can be taken 14 different ways! Makes for good blog comment fodder!


  22. The Ebooks that give helpful and interesting information targeted towards a marketplace where there is demand will bring forth sales. Ebooks necessitate very small experience in footing of creating them. If person makes the selling properly, important gross sales.

  23. I agree you must take control of your learning and your life. We live in a blame culture and it is so easy to pass on the blame. I feel more confident and happier in myself, as I take control of my life. I would encourage others to do the same.