I learned what worked by learning what didn’t. In spite of reading book after book on marketing, branding, copywriting, business and direct marketing many years ago – I still made mistakes. It was then that I discovered the difference between – “knowledge and know-how.”

Knowledge is really nothing more than data or information. It’s static. Non-moving. For example, you read a book on how to restore antique furniture. The book gives you the information or knowledge. Actually restoring a piece of furniture, however, is an entirely different matter. Once you accomplish that, you have “know-how.” Know-how is a working knowledge (or a knowledge that works). Having knowledge alone is like sitting on the bench and watching while others play the game. You know what to do, but you’re not participating in the actual game.

Know-how is taking the data or information you have and using it in a real-life situation – getting the desired result. There are plenty of overweight people who have the “head knowledge” about how to lose weight. They just can’t get it to work in their particular situation. Maybe they lack the ability to persist in the face of resistance? Every individual has their personal hurdles to overcome. The point is, we can find a million examples that point to the fact that knowledge and education alone isn’t enough.

Even so, people pursue it as though it was.

You may be sitting on the bench in several markets watching others play the game? The question is, why?

Legendary tennis coach, Nick Bollettieri, wrote about how some of his students with the best technique, movement and skill fell apart during an actual match because they had a fear of losing. I personally believe the fear of “losing” is what keeps most people sidelined throughout their lives.

People worry about what others will think. The truth is, people are caught up in their own lives with their own situations. They’re not investing any energy to speak of thinking about what you’re doing.

I’ll be the first person to tell you, acquiring knowledge in your field or niche is important. Even so, you will have zero impact on the market and on others until you get into the game for yourself.


KNOWLEDGE ITSELF ISN’T THE COMMODITY IT ONCE WAS

Let’s face it; knowledge or information is everywhere today. It’s easily accessible, especially when it comes to business success. There are innumerable books on specific topics that all basically say the same thing using different words. The result is, we have more people than ever before knowing “what to do” but not being able to figure out how to do it within their given set of circumstances. No two sets of circumstances and obstacles are exactly alike. That’s why books are just a starting point – not an ending point.

Years ago, people didn’t have the success books and courses we have today. They built businesses and became successful anyway. How did they do it? They succeeded through work and perseverance. Work, effort and perseverance are positive character traits that have been emphasized for thousands of years. Sure, it’s not a sexy-sounding solution like the “law of attraction.” But more importantly, it’s the truth. You learn by doing – not just thinking. Thinking doesn’t ignite success the way a spark ignites dynamite. Thinking identifies what you need to have and what you need to do. But thinking alone will never get the job done.

Thomas Edison once said, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
 

FOCUS AND GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS

I once told Jim Straw that I had too many unfinished products sitting on my “mental workbench.” Some were 50% completed, some 20%, etc. I said, “Jim, when I see something interesting, there’s a part of me that has to find out it’s worth pursuing or not.”

He said, “I know a fella like that!” He was talking about himself. For those of you who don’t know, before Jim succeeded in his first business, he has to put all his projects on the backburner and only focus on one. Actually, it was his wife who pointed this out to him. She told him to concentrate on one thing for an entire year and forget about everything else. And that’s what he did.

He told me he was shocked by the results.

The road to success often mundane stretches of time where there’s not much excitement (or money). As a result, a shiny object on the side of the road is often viewed as a welcomed relief and distraction.

Whether the distraction is welcomed or unwelcome, it’s still a distraction. It’s nothing more than a time thief. And time is the one thing everyone has a limited amount of.

If you struggle with boredom, admit it.

Recognize what it is that’s actually distracting you from turning your knowledge into know-how. Make a plan to eliminate your distractions. In my own case, there were several different types of businesses I was interested in building. Just like Jim Straw and countless others, I divided my energy up and worked a little bit on each one. I finally came to a place where I finally recognized I needed to focus my time and energy into one direction. So I did.

Are you getting nowhere fast? Stop looking for shortcuts and get to work.

You learn by doing. You learn by focusing your efforts and eliminating distractions. Knowledge alone won’t pay the bills. Know-how will. Until you really believe that, however, nothing will change. You have to settle it in your heart – focused effort and eliminating distractions are the only way to get from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow.

Others have done it. You can, too.