Ignore the Anti-Learning Brigade.

“You can’t learn art.”

Have you ever heard that?

“You’re just born with it.”

Or that?

“Oh, that looks just awesome, don’t change a thing! It’s perfect.”

How about that?

People that say that are poison. I call them the Anti-Learning Brigade. The snobby intellectual artsy elite. They’ll play both angles… tell you that it’s impossible to learn to do what you’re trying to do, or that you can’t or shouldn’t try to get better at it.

Why? To grant themselves a false and unearned sense of superiority, and to cut off your legs so you can’t compete. They may not realize they’re doing it — I’ve seen plenty of examples of that — but the result is the same.

The reason I dismiss them is because of this simple question:

What does “You can’t learn it” offer to help people that want to learn it?

That’s not knowledge. That’s not wisdom. That’s not any kind of help. That’s ANTI-KNOWLEDGE. That’s the most destructive, least constructive, most useless piece of advice that can be imparted to another that’s trying to learn.

“Stop trying. Stop putting forth the effort. You’ll never do it. No one can do it… except me, I was born with it. Some people have just been born with the skill and have done it all their life. How could you possibly compete with that? It’s inborn, a gift, not something that can be trained. Just give up. Don’t try. You’re wasting your time.”

I’ve made my life and career out of ignoring people like that, to my great benefit. I’m past the point of thinking anything they say holds weight, but when I see them telling eager young kids that are just starting out that they’ll never be good and can’t learn, I get angry.

Very angry.

Because if I’d listened to them when I was at that stage, I’d be nowhere. I think about where I was then, and where I am now, and I imagine everything I learned and everything I became in that time DYING. All that existence unravelling, just because someone was insecure and trying to hold me down.

By what right can one human tell another that his efforts will never matter? That his hard work will amount to nothing? That he’d be BETTER if he GAVE UP and STOPPED TRYING?

Never listen to these people. Ignore them. Cut them out of your life. Treat what they say as a challenge to try harder, get better and improve. “Can’t learn it, eh? Watch me crush you.” It does happen. People can make themselves out of nothing. You can learn anything. You can get better at anything.

You don’t even need to start out being smart! You just need to be willing to learn and have the determination to BECOME smart. If you’re persistent enough, never give up, keep trying and constantly adapt to new ideas and throw out your favorite old ones, you can do absolutely ANYTHING.

If no one could learn anything, no one could DO anything. And look around you. See how the world works. Cars move, airplanes fly, skyscrapers are erected, electricity flows, computer systems whirr happily, and the gears of the world go on grinding. If no one can learn anything, how does any of that work? I haven’t seen many infants assembling airplanes lately.

Explain that, Anti-Learning Brigade.

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