We live in possibly the most exciting time to have ever existed at least in terms of industry prospects. Digital marketing barely existed 20 years ago, social media was in its genesis and cryptocurrency certainly didn’t exist. In these years experts have popped up in these and many other areas that have come along the way and many are well rewarded for it. With things changing as fast as they are we need to be able to grasp concepts faster. You can go from an absolute beginner in something to experienced in 12 months if you follow the tips we are about to discuss.

A year is a long time

When you are looking forward to it, a year seems like a very long time but when looking back, a year is a short time. The idea is to make you conversant and competent in many fields. 12 months is an arbitrary number but it works. Just be aware that what we are talking about here is competence and conversance, if your chosen field requires certification or accreditation that is outside the scope of our discussion. So how do we go about becoming experienced in 12 months?


It’s very hard to get somewhere without knowing the directions to get there so we have to start by acquiring a role model to help you along the way. What you want most from a role model in this case is to tell you how to get there. Someone who has travelled the road before you know not only what to do but also what not to do along the way. It’s almost universal to hear people who have achieved something talk about things they wish they hadn’t wasted time and effort on in their journeys. Be clear about what your goal is with your mentor or role model.


It doesn’t matter what it is you’re trying to learn, there’s a book about it. At least a few hundred if not a thousand books. There’s a saying that goes if you read three good books on a subject you know about that subject more than 90% of people in the world. That is not certain but I’m confident that books contain a lot of information and present it very well. If you go by the 1 book per week golden standard you will read 52 books in a year. That’s way more than 3 books on a subject and it is something that I tested out, the reading one book a week that is. It does not just book you should be reading but also include publications and periodicals to get a grasp of practical discussions around the subject matter.


Before anybody launches into the “reading books doesn’t make you good at something” we need to talk about your approach to practice in the 12 months. The saying practise makes perfect is backed up by the observations of Malcolm Gladwell in the book Outliers. And practice is going to take you far if you apply it correctly. Firstly you need to make sure the practice is practical, the more real the better. Secondly, you need to be conscious of iteration in practice. In simple words consider how frequently you practice. In most pursuits, there is a direct relationship between the number of times you practice and how quickly you grasp things.


I remember sitting down for a 5 to 10-minute conversation with a top compliance expert on the privacy legislation in the country I was working in at the time. That conversation stands out in my mind because I learned more in that conversation about compliance regulations in the country than I have in the rest of my life. See that’s the thing about experts, they have a way of teaching even when they are not teaching, just in casual conversation. How do they get there? Well, it’s because they are immersed in a subject so much they know it in their sleep. You can employ immersion to your advantage by also consuming content on your chosen subject. This can be in the form of magazines, podcasts, academic journals and many other sources. The idea is to be conversant about the subject in various settings.

Work, even for free

Everybody’s got a plan until they get hit in the face – Mike Tyson. Listen you can do all the learning and reading and practice you want but nothing counts until you get deep in it. The rubber hits the road when you are tested and work certainly does that. Remember the goal here is to learn and getting paid for it is honestly a bonus so don’t get hung up on remuneration as long as it makes sense.

See you in 12 months!