The quickest way for me to learn is to bootstrap and build something myself.
I have slowly built my website over time, learning as I go.
The upside of building my stuff is that I’m not reliant on someone else. I experiment and tweak things on my timeline. I own the schedule. If I break it, I know how to fix it or revert the change. If it’s a total screw up, I can ask someone can show me. Significant improvements to my site sometimes mean cutting and pasting bits of code from a google search result and then refreshing to see if it works.
If any WordPress developer peaked under my website’s hood, they would see the equivalent of a one-bedroom house with extensions like a loft, basement, and garage all stapled on that have not been built to code.
My father is also building his site, so sometimes it’s about us sharing notes about new intentional and accidental discoveries that pop up when we tinker with the website.
There’s no formal syllabus. The building roadmap is dictated by what I need next.
Building on the fly is like learning a new language. I prepared by attending some formal French classes when I lived in Luxembourg for a short period. None of that helped. When I arrived in Lux, I couldn’t even understand what people were saying, let alone have a conversation. I learned to get by over time by repeating phrases like ordering coffee, buying bus tickets, and asking for directions. These practical phrases were my building blocks.
It’s the same with building anything new. Look for tools you need to get from point A to point B. Then figure out how to get to point C. It won’t be pretty, but you’ll keep moving forward and being in control will empower you.
In 1944, General Eisenhower, the Allied Supreme Commander in Europe, had to make one of the most significant decisions of WWII, and time was running out. He had already delayed the D-Day for a month, and he now set a date of June 5, 1944. The weather forecast for June 5 was rain and heavy seas.
Less than 24 hours before the scheduled invasion, he gathered his advisers again. The weather forecast indicated that the rain would stop, and there would be clear sky breaks in the clouds in the afternoon on June 5. Still, his meteorologists predicted improved conditions for the following day.
Eisenhower decided to delay and changed the date for D-Day to June 6.
Eisenhower made a decision and gave the order to set in motion the most massive amphibious invasion in world history; 4,000 warships, 10,000 aircraft, and 160,000 troops. Eisenhower had won his gamble with the weather, and within two months, Allied forces broke out from their Normandy beachheads and began their long battle march to liberate Europe.
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The problem with hiring people from large, slow-moving companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Big Banks, Consulting firms, Big 4 Accounting shops, and top tier law firms is that long timer employees at these companies are conditioned to only make decisions when they have “all” the information. They are not comfortable operating in the grey spaces. They want it black or white. This ends up paralyzing their day to day decisions, and they get out-innovated in the long run.
Work with folks who move fast and comfortable making a call with incomplete information, and listen to their gut and data at the time.
Tinker, build, fiddle, and experiment. Get your head out of the theory and into the practical.
Have a bias towards action. You will quickly learn if you like something or not.
Are you thinking of moving to a new neighborhood or town? Get an Airbnb and stay the weekend and walk through the main street.
Are you thinking about buying a new car? See if you can rent one for the weekend and give it a proper test drive.
Are you thinking about starting a new hobby like cycling, surfing, kiteboarding, fishing, or golf? Rent some equipment and give it a spin.
Once you’ve scratched the itch, you’ll get some authentic feedback, and you’ll know if you want to commit more time and money. The trick is starting small with a low commitment. It’s less intimidating, and it gets you going and saves you time if it’s not for you.