From childhood to 27 I’ve fished almost exclusively for carp. A carp is a specimen of fish found all over the world, British carp however seemingly have a very British attitude – stubborn, hard to reach, and extremely picky over food, until hungry then they will eat until they burst. You fish for carp with pretty subdued tactics. Everything is presented well, noise is a key factor and the slightest thing can deter even the most hungry of carp.
Today I found myself in unusual waters. I am currently in La Porte Indiana and this morning I was fishing for Gills, something I have never previously done in real life. I have, however, fished for Gills in the virtual world. Growing up, my brother and I shared a “fishing console adapter” for our PS2. It was like an early version of the Wii, but we had a lot of fun casting and reeling in our catches.
The game came with built-in “fishing instructions” when bass or gill came near it would say “biting, biting, don’t let it get away”. These instructions are however completely opposite of fishing for carp. If it were Carp it would be “feeding, feeding, stay patient and don’t spook them”.
These are two very contrasting programs I had running in my head this morning. At first, my physical body was fishing for Carp, I was slow to react to bites, overly patient, and extremely passive. Kate was next to me and she quickly landed two Gills with seemingly little thought.
Rather than thinking about how lucky she was, or becoming jealous of her fortune, I simply started to observe what she was doing. Kate, unlike I , was extremely impatient with her float position. She’d move it around a lot, wiggling it almost.
Kate’s technique was literally the opposite of everything I knew.
Yet it was working, and what I’m realising in life is that it’s a whole lot easier to adapt and accept what is working rather than fight against “just to be right”.
Within 5 minutes of adapting I started to realise that Gill’s are predators, they don’t want a stagnant bait. From there my strategy evolved to the point where I was catching almost every single cast. By blending my old skills with new information I was able to evolve at a rate that caused Kate to exclaim “I’ve never seen anything like this here before”.
This post is not to stroke my digital ego, it’s to highlight a skill that I have used over and over again to become proficient in almost anything I do – Listening.
To me, it seems obvious that if you want to get good at something you simply find someone who is already good at it, mimic their behavior, and then adapt it to your situation.
Yet the majority of people come up with a million reasons “why their way is better” or “they know best”. This way of thinking is fundamentally flawed and will leave you dangling your pole in a lake full of average.
Here is some good news for you – you can, without a shadow of a doubt, learn anything. I’m not saying you will become good at it, or make money from it, but you can certainly learn it. The human brain is an information powerhouse that is beyond our understanding of power. Luckily for you, you already have one!
Here is how I would learn something new –
1) Figure out what you want to learn & why
2) Find someone who is already an expert in that field. Youtube literally has a gajillion videos for everything you can imagine.
3) Dive deep into that specific world for a while. The deeper you dive, the more you will find!
4) Start to mimic the behavior/skills/ techniques you see
5) Practice and review what is working/isn’t working
6) Adapt and adjust whilst continually learning about and around your chosen thing
This may be blindingly simple because it is. The real work comes when you decide to actually “do the do”. You can watch 1,000 videos about fishing but if you never stick your rod out, you won’t catch shit!
Doing the work and implementing what you learn can come with a cluster of new obstacles, discipline, commitment, attention to detail etc. This isn’t to put you off. This is actually the best part. Imagine watching a video about “how to catch the biggest Gill ever” and then you go outside and it immediately happens. Yuck, that would be so boring.
The magic is in the journey and the “figuring it out stage”, at least for me anyway.
The intention of this post was to show a real-world example where listening and implementing resulted in a reward and a lovely outcome. I hope you go away from this post feeling empowered and ready to start learning something new and embracing the mastery journey.
If it did add value to your day, please let me know in the comments below with a “Gill that was brill” comment, or something of that nature! If this post was a little abstract or confusing, I would also like to know, feedback makes the world go round, yours would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for now and happy fishing,