Learn The Basics
For many activities it can be very easy to learn the basics, but it takes much longer to actually become proficient. This became obvious for me over the weekend. I was working on a project high on a ladder, and it became obvious that having a pulley system was going to be the best way to get the project done. Luckily the pulleys were already installed, and we could use them to accomplish our task.
Even though I haven't spent my whole life tying knots, I have tied enough of them that I have a basic grasp of knots and their various functions. We put them to the test when the load fell at the beginning. The knots held, and we were able to lower the beam down slowly and without injuring anyone.
This is just one case where it was important that someone had at least some basic skills. I think that if I hadn't been there to tie the knots, then it is very likely that someone could have gotten hurt because no one else seemed confident in his ability to tie a knot.
This principle of knowing the basics doesn't only come in handy when it comes to knots. Maybe you can play a little bit on the piano. If someone just wants you to play something easy then you can do that. Obviously having even a little bit of skill is better than having none.
Note: I am not saying that you should exagerate the level of skills that you have just so you can brag.
For many activities the basics can be learned relatively quickly. A few years ago I was really into trying to make websites. Actually I was more interested in learning how to make websites than actually making them. I went through the courses on Codecademy. These courses were beneficial because I was able to learn the basics in a very short amount of time. Now when I need to I can do basic tweaks to my website.
My problem is that I have a hard time getting beyond the basics. Most of the time I have no problems learning the basics and learning them quickly; however, when my progress begins to slow down I lose motivation and no longer want to work on the projects.
This all goes to say that if you have an interest in something more often than not you will be able to find something online that will teach you the basics, and from there you can decide if it is worth it or not to continue your education in that arena. Once you begin and become even a beginner in something, you will often gain respect from the people who have not even tried.
Hopefully this will inspire you to learn something that you have always wanted to. This could be a new language, or a new instrument. Either way you should be able to see some progress pretty quickly.
What are some things that you have always wanted to learn or do? Let me know in the comment below.