In high school, I got really into playing jazz piano.

To the point where I eventually quit going to high school altogether (except when I would go to the band room – which was almost every day) because of my desire to spend time playing the piano.

But before I stopped going to school, I remember one time when I was in art class.

We were supposed to design our “dream home,” with an architectural plan, interior design, a mock-up of how the landscaping would look, etc.

Well, at the time, I was so involved with learning this song (Dolphin Dance, by Herbie Hancock), that all I wanted to do during class was look over the chords and the melody and analyze them. 

I couldn’t give two shits about my “dream home.” 

I had to get out of it. And quick.

My solution?

I hastily sketched on the page in front of me for about 3 minutes and immediately went back to studying the song.

Here’s what my “dream home” looked like: A fully underground home, with no above-ground structures, no landscaping, a one-room layout, and a completely minimalist interior.

In other words, it was an empty box underground.

Just about the bare minimum of what qualified as completing the assignment.

I didn’t care!

I was too busy studying the song.

Which brings me to the point I’d like to make.

I find there is a general lack of understanding in today’s copywriting and marketing world about the need to study, and re-study, analyze, and re-analyze, mimic (clumsily, at first), and re-mimic (with eventual originality and tact) the very material that we wish to master.

I’m not sure if this is a sign of the times – that people are unaware that they can go out “into the wild” and discover information for themselves, without needing someone to spoon-feed it to them on a silver platter behind the paywall of their latest $3,997 course – or if it has always been this way.

But when I was in high school, studying jazz piano, it was obvious to me that if I wanted to master this skill I had better wrap my head around exactly what it is I was trying to do in the first place, and then study it enough so it becomes second nature to me.

The only solution for that is to immerse yourself in it.

You cannot master a language without listening to it, studying it, analyzing it, and speaking it relentlessly.

You can’t master jazz piano without listening to jazz music, studying and analyzing the songs, and practicing relentlessly.

Likewise, whatever form of persuasive communication you’d like to master – whether it be Facebook ads copy, writing VSLs, or a daily marketing email – you don’t stand the ghost of a chance if you don’t spend some serious time and energy immersing yourself in the material, studying and analyzing it for yourself, and practicing what you have studied.

Yes, courses and trainings can help. 

In fact, I highly recommend quite a few of them. 

But I also believe they are often given too much importance, to the detriment of the student’s innate abilities to learn for themself through personal experience.

Here’s a rule that I now follow BEFORE buying any course or training…

(This tip was learned through many hard-fought mental battles and many, many thousands of dollars spent and lost – so pay attention!):

Whatever the topic or theme of the course that I am interested in, I now do AT LEAST as much research into the actual topic as it takes me to read the sales letter. 

At first, I would do ONE HOUR of research into the topic PER $100 of training cost. (So for a $300 course I would do at least 3 hours of self-directed research and study into the subject the course was covering.)

And I would recommend that to most beginners, for a few reasons:

1 – You never know who is trying to outright fleece you.

2 – You would be a better student of the course if you had a preliminary knowledge of the subject (you’ll be able to ask more pertinent questions and have a clearer idea of what you want from the course).

3 – You may realize after a few hours of self-study that you don’t even want/need the course anymore.

Again, I’m definitely NOT “anti-training” or “anti-course.”

But I definitely AM “anti-getting-ripped-off” and “pro-self-study”.

Think of a good course as something that might be able to answer the questions that you have AFTER you’ve exhausted your own search to find those answers. (As opposed to something that will take you from zero to a hundred with no other skills, attitudes, habits, etc., required.) 

That way, you will have developed the most important thing that a student (and therefore any teacher or course creator) can hope for, namely, the DESIRE & ABILITY to actually LEARN.

Do with this information what thou wilt.

And for more money-saving tips from a high-school dropout turned copygandist, be sure to subscribe below.

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