If you're really ambitious, you expect that you're going to be doing important things for most of your life.
This brings us to an interesting dilemma.
When to stop training and start producing?
You could always train more, learn more, study more, before you start building and producing. It's almost always going to be a justifiable decision, especially if you're young.
There's many schools of thought on this. There's the "just get into action now" school of thought, who start hustling and taking actions right away. This is usually a good course that leads to results, but I think sometimes the move-move-move crowd misses out by maxing out in a small area. They get to the top of the game, but they never researched and planned whether it was the right game to play.
There's the "of course you should study crowd" that encourages you to get a bachelor's degree, master's degree, and a PhD, or do the equivalent training and learning before getting into the field. Ironically, I think this falls into the same trap as the above - you come out with some excellent credentials and knowledge in a particular field, but maybe didn't do enough real world application to see if that's the field you want to play in.
Sometimes it's decided for you. If you play a sport, there's a defined season when that sport is played, and there's a defined spectrum of games. You train however much makes sense to you and your coaches.
But most of the world doesn't work like that. At any given time, you could make a sales call, or you could read a book on selling. At any time, you could submit a resume to get a job, or you could be working to get a new credential. At any time, you could be studying your craft, or you could be doing your craft.
Again, I lean more to the action side of the equation - start producing sooner than later, because you also learn from that. It shows you what areas you need to take action in by your mistakes.
But it was still a hazy thing to think about.
Recently I had a chance to re-read Stephen Covey's "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" - and it strikes me that Covey is one of the only people that captured this dilemma really well.
He calls it P/PC balance - production, and production capability.
Production is getting results - doing things, accomplishing things, making money/resources, etc. Production capability is what allows you to do that - skills, contacts, connections, credentials, tools, maintenance.
In the end, there's no magical correct answer. Ideally you are both producing and increasing your production capability by training all the time. The exact amounts are set by you.
I'll say I come down on the produce side of the equation - you don't know how well your training is going unless you try to use it in the real world. And by trying, you also learn more, and best of all - you see firsthand where you need the most additional training going forwards.
I have pretty smart readers here. I bet some of you have thought your way through this one. What do you think? What choices did you make, when trading off between producing and training?