Martin Messier

August 4, 2023

Why courses don’t work and what to do about it

*Mark Knopfler shredding Sultans of Swing live in the background as I write*

Courses suck at transferring skills.

I enjoy courses as much as the next guy. But I have to be real with you. For us passionate learners, courses are just a different version of Game of Thrones.

They're entertainment.

And the danger with courses is that they fool us into believing that we're being productive. After all, we're learning, aren't we?

*cue the blonde Dallas Cowboys cheerleader*

"Yes, we're growing!

Yes, we're upgrading our skills!

Yes, we're becoming better version of ourselves!"

"Thanks, Ashley, you can sit down now..."

Truth is, if we're constantly consuming courses, we're BSing ourselves into believing we're making progress. But we're not. We're procrastinating.

But let's suppose we're genuinely using courses to learn. Are courses good for anything?

Courses are useful for getting a walkthrough of a field. Through them, we can learn the terminology used in that field, become familiar with the most common concepts and maybe do a few deep dives to get a closer look at the most important areas of the field.

When it comes to developing skills, though, courses fall way short because they put students in "listen & watch" mode.

What works, then?

We develop skills through training. Effective training, by design, puts participants in "do" mode. It's one of the reasons why the Modeling Experience is so effective at getting participants to learn how to model. They get into "do" mode on day 1.

Once we are in "do" mode, repetition begins. It's rote, boring and utterly unexciting.

That's where course junkies drop off. They're addicted to the dopamine hit of the quick insight and can't get enough of it. Udemy's supply of courses isn't sufficient to satisfy their addiction. Problem is, they have zero to show for in terms of results. It's all talk, parroting what they've learned in the course, and zero action.

The real gangsters, on the other hand, put on their bandanas and get down to the dirty work: reps.

They perform the task over and over. They sweat it out. They clench. They scream in agony and frustration as amateurism leaves their system. Then they surrender. They let go. They learn to relax. The task becomes a meditation. It becomes a path, divorced from the destination that prompted them to get on it. It becomes a way, a philosophy, a master, a mirror.

Eventually, they acquire and master the skill to the point where it becomes second-nature to them.


...when a real G discovers NLP modeling, (s)he gains the ability to instantly deploy this commitment at the highest level from day 1 instead of relying on trial and error to build the skill.

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