Listen, Read, Act, Repeat

It's been said that the four most dangerous words in the English language are “I already know that.” These words create a mental barrier that shuts you off from any additional information you might receive by listening. More importantly, saying “I already know that” closes the door on new experiences that could enrich your life and your art.


Christen Humphries
Christen Humphries, Winter Elegance.
Oil on pergamenata, 39 x 27 inches.
©The Artist

As I tell students in my classes and workshops, it's important to stop yourself before uttering–or even thinking–these words. When the thought crosses your mind that you've already heard something before, ask yourself one of the following questions.

–Am I living it?
–Am I doing it?
–Did I act on it?
–Will it hurt to be reminded of it again?

Consider the many ways we learn. We learn by listening, participating (doing), reading, watching, and teaching.

Let's say you’re reading my book, I'd Rather Be in the Studio. It's a reference book that walks you through the steps you need to accomplish certain tasks like writing a newsletter or starting a mailing list. You're going to learn a lot by reading it, but even I (with my vast wisdom) can't anticipate every question that might arise. In a class or workshop situation, you'll learn from others' questions and experiences. You'll learn from dialog.

Likewise, you might read this Art Marketing Action newsletter each week. Others might listen to the podcast version. But the person who consumes both will have a more complete understanding of the topic.

If you think you've heard it all, think again. Or, better put, read it again or listen to it again. Participate actively in a discussion, and you'll learn even more. Teach it, and you'll become an expert.

KNOW THIS———-~> It never hurts to hear something twice.

THINK ABOUT THIS—~> Is your “knowledge” stopping you from learning more?

DO THIS————~> Listen, read, act, and repeat. Or read, listen, act, and repeat. Don't let the four most dangerous words–“I already know that”–stand in your way. Keep gathering knowledge in any format you come across, and pretty soon you'll be proficient in your area of interest.

A crew of us will be learning from each other in a Twitter book club that starts today. We're reading “de Kooning” and tweeting about it. To join us, just sign up and follow along.

Share your insights about gaining knowledge and listen to the podcast on the Art Biz Blog.

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