When I watched Sesame Street growing up, learning looked (and felt) like playtime. Even though I'm in my late 20s now, part of me still believes that it's true. Most of us do too.
But looking back, the times where I learned the most are also the times where I've struggled the most. I had a small example of that at work last week.
I was building out a listening dashboard in Brandwatch for a new client at DeMoss. When you are building out the search queries for the terms and phrases you want Brandwatch to actually look for, you have two options:
- Use a simplified query builder. You simply have three boxes. One for terms you want to find, another box to input terms for context and then a final one for terms you want eliminated from search results.
- Build out a complex set of terms and command codes using boolean search queries. This is a very manual and tedious process when compared to step one.
When you go with option #2, you build out something that looks like what's written in the "Free Text" box:
I had always used option one (the way more time-effective, easier solution) in the past with success. We haven't missed any data or information regarding a client online. Except this time. I KNEW that my simplified query wasn't gathering all the info it should. A quick Twitter search told me that much. The only choice I had was to build out a boolean query.
For several folks, this is a walk in the park. You could even be laughing at me reading this right now.
You're a digital lead and you struggled with this?
Yes. Yes I did. Mainly because I never really had to do it before. I've always had a pro analyst nearby to do a better job. But this time, I only had myself to figure it out. Backed into a corner, I spent a few hours refining and learning all the commands needed to build out a good and useful query. I even went back and re-edited a few other client strings without much problem.
The struggle is real
Learning something new does take effort. All my life, I've been a really quick learner. However, learning to do a new thing isn't going to come easy. It probably shouldn't come easy.
When I was learning to run, my first couple of months - heck, years - were a struggle.
Learning to do a few take on home improvement tasks around the house here didn't happen flawlessly for me.
Even re-learning AP Style here at DeMoss after not having to use it since freshman year at WKU hasn't come easy.
Learning doesn't come easy. A lot of times learning can be extremely frustrating. But I'm always glad I went through the process. Without learning, very little growth can happen.
And sure, even if it isn't easy, learning can be a lot of fun. It should be. Even if it's after the fact.
If you've never struggled or had to push yourself when learning something new, ask yourself: are you really doing much learning?