Back in ancient Egypt when they were mummifying a corpse one of the things that they did was remove all the vital organs from the body. All that is except the heart! Back then the Egyptians believed that the heart was the intelligence centre of a human being so they left it in. The human brain was thought to be superfluous to requirements and was treated with very little in the way of reverence. Hooks were inserted up the nose and they were jiggled around to scramble the brain and then they would proceed to scoop it out back through the nose. Oh those crazy Egyptians smart in many ways dead wrong (pun intended) in others.

So what has that got to do with the acquiring of knowledge I hear you ask? It is a good question! After all this is all about questions.

Well I will do my level best to bring it all together with just one terrible segue.

Brain Picking!

See what I did there 🙂

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of brain picking it is the systematic approach to obtaining information, skills or knowledge from another person by asking specific and well constructed questions.

The thing is most people when they look to learn something new, try and gain the knowledge of that thing by trial and error.

Hey it works that’s why we do it. The thing is using your own effort to acquire a new thing that someone has already done is, if you think about it clearly not the most efficient way.

I mean let’s say you wanted to be a doctor you wouldn’t just start trying to come up with new ways yourself to see if you could make someone better. You would consult the existing body of work that has been accumulated over the years. Obviously!

The thing is in so many other fields we ignore this wisdom and just start by plowing ahead trying to learn as we go. No thought to the easier way.

Let’s take business as an example you decide you want to start one but have never done so. Let’s say you decide that you want to offer a personal concierge service. Hey people are busy and they need to be organised often they don’t have the time to do things for themselves. You know that people are doing very well in this business but there doesn’t seem to be anyone doing it in your area. You’ve found your gap in the market.

Now all you have to do is figure out how to get this up and running. So you do all the usual things get some cards printed, get a website done, get your business registered and you start trying to find clients by asking friends if they know anyone who could use your service and head to local networking events to pitch your service.

Over time you barrel through picking up the occasional bit of business and hoping your business improves. With each new month you learn a few more skills that make your business better and after a year or two you are getting quite good at what you do.

Well that’s one way.

Another way might be this….

Part 1.

You go on the internet and find everyone in that industry who is a successful and not geographically competitive with you. Get a list of at least 20-30.

Take a look at each persons website and see what is good on there and what is bad. You look at services provided and the pricing structure if available. You make a note of all the things that you could adopt yourself. You create a spreadsheet with the details of each person/business what they do how they do it good and bad. You get all their contact info for part 3.

Part 2

You brainstorm a load of questions that you would love to have answered by someone in the know. So that would shorten your path to knowledge of the industry.

Things like…

How did you start your business?

What have been your biggest successes?

What have been your biggest mistakes?

What would you have loved to know at the start that would have made you more successful quicker?

What marketing strategies have been the most successful?

What do you think you would do differently if you had to start all over again?
So you would get a list of relevant questions. That would if answered, fast track your knowledge.
Part 3

You contact each person on the list tell them that you really admire what they are doing and say that you would love to have a chat about how they became so great. Tell them that you are thinking of doing something similar and that you are not going to be in competition with them as they are operating in a different area.

The thing is everyone likes to tell their story and we are all starved for the attention of someone who will listen. This is your advantage you are prepared to listen.

Get them to tell their story. Then ask your questions. Make notes.

When you finish, thank them and ask if it would be ok to speak to them from time to time if you ever have any questions. Job done!

You do this for each and every one of the people on your list. Well, at least those who will speak to you and you again take lots of notes.

Very quickly you will have virtually all the knowledge that you need to get your business off the ground. You will know how to get it going and growing really fast and you will know what mistakes to avoid. You will have more than a few people to help you should you get stuck.

There is a secondary benefit to speaking to lots of people. Often many different people in an area have different knowledge and never do anything to improve that knowledge. You will be the only one who has the complete picture as you have talked to everyone. This can give you a massive advantage if you have competition, as the people who you are competing against never take the time to do this.

This usually does not take long you can normally get this done in under two weeks.

You now get to hit the ground not only running but running like Usain Bolt.

You have a far greater degree of confidence in what you are doing and you are not wasting any time with trial and error and second guessing yourself. You have shortened your learning curve to its bare minimum.

You can do this with any skill that requires knowledge and is the fastest way I know to shortcut that journey.

Use this technique in every area of your life and your speed to knowledge and skill acquisition will be the stuff of legend.

Oh one final thing you should memorise the first 4 questions as you can use them on any person you meet. It is good for you and it is good for them you gain knowledge, they get to tell their story.

So go Pick Brains non-Egyptian style.