From age 5 to about age 22, all I wanted to do was fly for the U.S. AirForce. That’s it. I was single-mindedly focused on that one goal. Then, I got distracted. I got married. I decided not to yank my kids from country to country every year. I made a decision not to chase my dream. I decided to raise my kids in one town. I decided to give them a hometown. I put a gun to the head of my lifelong dream and I pulled the trigger. I became a teacher instead.
I regret that decision every single day.
There is an old saying. “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach, teach teachers.” (The last one makes me laugh.)
This old saying hurts, because, I could have done it. I have succeeded in almost everything I have attempted. I am convinced I could have flown. I have the determination and grit to accomplish whatever I turn my mind to. So, it always hurts me to hear “those who can’t teach”. Makes me feel like a loser.
I was happy to see this following article by Bob Bly. He demolishes that old line. Once and for all.
Dear Direct Response Letter Subscriber:
In a recent dinner conversation — it happened to be at my best
friend’s wedding — the subject of an option trading course
promoted by Mr. X, a successful trader, came up.
ML, the person sitting at my table who was next to me, said:
“I doubt he is really successful as an option trader. After all,
if he was really making money at it, Mr. X. wouldn’t bother to
sell a course in it.
“The fact that he does so tells me X makes his money teaching his
subject rather than doing it.”
On the surface this may seem like a logical conclusion. But in
fact, ML and others who believe this old saw are wrong.
Nearly everyone in the Information Age has within his or her
grasp at least 2 revenue streams today.
The first is doing the skill or thing they are good at.
The second is teaching the skill or field to others.
And they are not mutually exclusive.
To answer ML, there are 3 reasons why someone who is making a lot
of money as an active practitioner in a skill — be it option
trading or copywriting — would actively create and market a
training program teaching that skill to others:
1–Teaching is a compulsion.
As a species, we are wired to teach, communicate, and pass what
we know on to others.
It’s in our DNA.
Perhaps it’s preservation of the species or our shot at a kind of
immortality beyond our physical lives.
When you teach, write, or speak, your knowledge continues to
benefit people even after you pass on to the next world (if there
If people did not teach others what they know, our society would
slowly but surely grind to a halt and cease to exist.
The world is dynamic, ever-changing.
So even experts cannot rest on their laurels.
When you teach — whether through speaking or writing — you have
to do two things that make you a better professional.
First, you are forced to organize your knowledge better — a
requirement of presenting it clearly to students.
And doing so gives you a greater grasp of your subject … and
fixes the principles even more firmly in your mind.
Second, you must, through ongoing study and research, stay
current in your field.
Which in turn maximizes your success and earnings — because the
more you know about a thing, the better you are at doing the
This is why “continuing education credits” are a requirement of
staying licensed in many fields: the powers that be know that
without continual study to update their knowledge, practitioners
risk becoming subpar and even obsolete.
Even if Mr. X makes a fortune trading option contracts, many of
us really like money.
So if he can make even more by adding the selling of courses to
his business, more power to him.
I love copywriting, but if I wrote copy for the whole of my 12-hour
work day, I’d risk burn-out and fatigue.
So I write copy for clients 90% of the time, but also teach,
write, and speak for a welcome change of pace — which keeps me
fresh and mentally stimulated — as well as producing multiple
streams of income.
So about this idea that if someone is good at something and makes
money at it, they wouldn’t also sell courses or coaching in it?
Yeah, it makes a little sense on the surface. But dig deeper, and
you see it’s mostly hogwash.
To close with a quote from Forrest Gump, “And that’s all I have
to say about that.”
P.S. That being said, I only buy courses from authors who either
are currently practicing the discipline they teach or have been
practitioners in the past.
And I mostly buy only from current practitioners. Because the
longer a guru has been away from participating in the actual
game, the less up-to-date and relevant his teachings will be.
As for courses by authors who have slim or no experience in what
they teach, I avoid them like the plague.
In particular, never buy a course on how to get rich in internet
marketing from anyone who has sold absolutely nothing except
courses in how to get rich in internet marketing.