If you think education is expensive…

Seth Godin wrote about Training and the infinite return on investment

Imagine a customer service rep. Fully costed out, it might cost $5 for this person to service a single customer by phone. An untrained rep doesn’t understand the product, or how to engage, or hasn’t been brought up to speed on your systems. As a result, the value delivered in the call is precisely zero (in fact it’s negative, because you’ve disappointed your customer).

On the other hand, the trained rep easily delivers $30 of brand value to the customer, at a cost, as stated, of $5. So, instead of zero value, there’s a profit to the brand of $25. A comparative ROI of infinity.

And of course, the untrained person doesn’t fall into this trap once. Instead, it happens over and over, many times a day.

The short-sighted organization decides it’s ‘saving money’ by cutting back training. After all, the short-term thinking goes, what’s the point of training people if they’re only going to leave. (I’d point out the converse of this–what’s the danger of not training the people who stay?)

Granted, Seth speaks in the context of marketing, sales, and business – his “lane”. But really, training – education – is relevant to any and every facet of life.

The more training you have, the more education you have, the more knowledge you have, the more it pays off.

Because to Seth’s last point: you stay in your life, so what’s the danger of going through life untrained and  ignorant?

Seth concludes:

What’s not so easy is to take responsibility for our own training.

We’ve long passed the point where society and our organization are taking responsibility for what we know and how we approach problems. We need to own it for ourselves.

If I apply this to one of my “lanes” – self defense – I actually am pretty astounded at how much people don’t take on responsibility for what they know and how they approach problems, which is odd because these are the same people that espouse how they have/carry a gun because they accept responsibility for their own personal safety. Often times there’s belief they are “good enough” and will be able to handle themselves if the flag flies, yet they’re unable to quantify what “good enough” should be – but whatever it is, I’m it (apparently).

Grant Cunningham writes about “shooting well”:

Any shooting you do — whether in competition, for hunting, or in self defense — is a balance of speed (how quickly you shoot) and precision (the size of the area into which you can shoot)….

Most people evaluate their shooting skill level under only one of those two factors. Either they focus on how precisely they can shoot, or they focus on how quickly they’re shooting. Either one in isolation gives an incomplete view, and the same is true when evaluating a gun; if you shoot slowly enough, so that each shot is a completely separate event unaffected by what came before or what will come after, then most guns can be shot “well”.

In other words, just about anyone can shoot just about any handgun (or rifle) “well” for one shot. It’s when you need to fire more than one shot, or when time becomes a factor, do you discover how things like recoil, weight, hand fit, and more affect your ability to shoot well. It’s not just about tight groups!

Granted, Grant’s writing was alluding to issues of caliber and recoil, but the whole of his article touches on the fact that most people believe they can “shoot well”, yet aren’t fully considering the complete context under which they may have to shoot.

That complete context, in terms of self-defense, is likely to go beyond these issues of caliber, recoil, and marksmanship. If you are in a self-defense incident, there’s going to be chaos, adrenaline, and intense high-pressure split-second decision making. Can you “shoot well” in that context? Remember: doing “well” in that context may actually require you to not shoot at all.

Some people are proud to seek out the least amount of training possible. They want the cheapest, least-hassle solution. As few dollars spent, as few hours in the classroom or on the range. It’s as if they are proudly seeking ignorance. I grant, if you can spend $50 or $500 and get precisely the same results, I’d go for the $50 option as well. But like most things in life, you do get what you pay for – and you get more spending $500 on a weekend training with Tom Givens or Massad Ayoob.

Especially if you contrast that $500 against the potential $50,000 or $500,000 or more you could wind up spending on a lawyer. Because ignorance of the law can be mighty costly.

You may not be training to be a customer service rep answering phone calls about a product. But aren’t you trying to bring value into your own life? You’re going to be staying in your life, hopefully for a long time, so take the time to invest in yourself. Don’t expect the state or others to provide “adequate” training, because it usually is not. Take the time, the money, the responsibility to invest in yourself. The education will pay dividends.

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