Idea Execution

with Noor Siddiqui

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The ability to teach yourself skills quickly is important for both startups and life.

Noor Siddiqui

Co-Founder and CEO at Remedy Inc at 17, 20 under 20 Thiel Fellow

Lessons Learned

Anything worth value takes a long time.

People are afraid to dedicate time to learning.

You don’t need an expert to teach lessons to you – you teach yourself.


Lesson: Idea Execution with Noor Siddiqui

Step #8 Learning: The ability to teach yourself skills quickly is important for both startups and life

The most important skill of life is to be able to figure out how to learn quickly and learn things you don't understand. I always think it's something you have to kind of tackle emotionally more than mentally. I feel like people are smart and sponges. But I think a lot of times people can't emotionally get over the fact that they don't know something critical to their company. It's a feeling. They feel like something is too hard to learn. Nothing is magic. People get really intimidated by engineers, but nothing engineers do is magic or insurmountable or impossible to understand.

Read a couple of books and you'll understand it. You become competent in anything that you dedicate your time to. So if you decide you want to dedicate your time to learning the piano, you'll become a great pianist. If you decide want to dedicate your time to understanding database structures or arrays, then you'll become really good at that.

I think the biggest thing is that people are afraid to dedicate time to things, and they're afraid to fail at things, and they're afraid to understand that anything worth value and anything worth doing takes a long time. People are always like, “Okay, get rich quick." they're like, "What have you done? What can I sprint toward?” But life isn't like that. Life isn't a sprint. Life is a marathon. If you want something that's hard to get, then you need to be willing to put in the work to do it. If you want to learn something, then just go out and learn it. There's like a million resources for how to learn it.

I also really don't think that need people handholding. You don't really need a mentor or you don't really need some expert to teach it to you. At the end of the day, whether in college or whether you're in high school, or however you want to learn something, if you think about the times in your life, this is only true for me but it might be true for you. When I think about the hardest thing I've ever learned, no one was ever standing over my shoulder, badgering me to learn it, or explaining to me how to do it. I just kept reading or kept thinking about it and convinced myself that I would understand it, and then eventually, I did.

I don't know. I guess I think maybe I'm being too hard on myself and other people, but I think that people have personal responsibility to try and learn things and however you want to be motivated, whether that's through wanting to build something and knowing that this piece of information that you don't understand is key to building it. If that's what motivates you to fill in the gap, then maybe then that's what it is.

Maybe you really want to teach someone else something and you have to understand it first. However you want to motivate yourself, do that, but you should just remember that nothing is impossible to learn and you just have to dedicate a certain amount of time to it and be deliberate about it and you can understand or get whatever competency you don't have.

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