A learn fast mindset and the principles that underpin it can support anything — whether it’s a question, idea, product or an action.
So what is a learn fast mindset?
A learn fast mindset is where you share your progress, early, often and without fear of failure. It’s primarily a feedback mechanism so you can get answers to key questions like, what works, what doesn’t work, and more importantly, why?
You’ve probably heard the phrase or methodology behind fail fast. The methodology is right but the phrase places too much emphasis on failure, and doesn’t recognise the weight of negativity that comes with it. It doesn’t reflect how the terms ‘fail and failure’ can be crippling to your success, and should instead be replaced with terms like learn and learning.
A learn fast mindset is done in the knowledge that the thing you’re working on, is incomplete or imperfect. You are simply putting a stake in the sand knowing that it will need to be moved or improved .
A learn fast mindset means you can quickly iterate, and those iterations become embedded into a process that ensures your success.
But why is this important?
“Perfection is the enemy of progress”
If you haven’t already heard the phrase, make it a part of your everyday language. Far too often we are worried about how people will perceive our work, or that whatever we create doesn’t meet our standards — usually because we’re our own worst critic. This creates a situation where we analyze EVERYTHING. This in turn, can create paralysis, or, more correctly, paralysis by over analysis. You basically stop progressing because you’re trying to make it perfect. You commit a lot of time and energy to it and can become emotionally attached to it. But because you aren’t socialising or putting it forward you limit the opportunities for feedback and buy in, and more importantly, the opportunities for continuous improvement.
This is not good process.
So what does learn fast actually look like and how do you do it?
If it’s a product, or tangible ‘thing’ you’re creating for someone else then you need to present it to them, or someone that represents their interests, at the earliest possible opportunity. You need to remember at that stage, it’s simply a draft, and the reason you’re doing it, is to get feedback as quickly as you can, so you dont waste valuable time and resources on something that won’t match the requirements.
A key principle of this mindset is that people around you know what you’re doing. You’ve already communicated your intentions — this progress you’re presenting is not the finished product. Far from it. You are presenting it, as is, to create opportunities to iterate, so the finished product is robust and brings people along in the development, or journey as it were.
So armed with this knowledge of what a learn fast mindset is, why it is important, and steps to actually doing it, I encourage you to give it a go. Remember, the principle and applications can apply to almost anything — if it’s an idea, test it with someone, if it’s a question, ask it out loud, even if it’s only to yourself, and if it’s a product, present it to your target audience and start learning.