Have you heard this clip where Bob Newhart explains Baseball to someone who has never played, or even seen it?

The thing I like about this clip is that I know how baseball works – so it makes sense to me. But hearing it explained to someone for the first time makes it sound absolutely absurd.

Things we don’t understand feel confusing and overwhelming.

And things we do understand tend to feel familiar and comfortable.

You’ve gotta learn the rules to play the game.

Education offers you a concrete advantage.

Let me explain:

I’ve been using AccessAlly for a few months now, and I’m noticing an interesting trend – the more I “get” the software, the more valuable it becomes.

For the first few weeks it wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do, and it felt…clunky.

My instinct was to blame the software (I’m a smart guy, so it can’t be me, right?) – but I persisted anyway.

I dedicated myself to reading articles and watching videos. I immersed myself in the AccessAlly community, asking questions and then working hard to try and understand the guidance that was offered.

The more I understood it, the more it did what I needed.

The fascinating thing about this is that the software isn’t really changing (maybe little updates here and there), but rather I’m the one who’s evolving

I realized that much of my frustration was stemming from misaligned expectations – I had been asking AccessAlly to do things it wasn’t designed to do.

I hadn’t taken the time to learn the rules of the game I was playing.

I had hired a surgeon and was asking her to fly an airplane.

Can you butter your toast with a chainsaw, sure, probably – but that’s not what chainsaws are best at.

In order to maximize the results you get from a tool, you have to know how that tool is intended to be used.

My relationship with AccessAlly isn’t unique, I had this same experience when I started using Zapier, and I’d bet it parallels the one you have with ~Insert.SoftwareHere~.

I spend a lot of my time in the Infusionsoft ecosystem, and I’ll be the first to say that it’s far from perfect.

The software definitely has bugs from time to time.

I regularly see comments in the various Facebook groups and Infusionsoft Forums from people who are frustrated because Infusionsoft doesn’t do X, Y, or Z.

They’ve tried everything and it just isn’t working.

Then after a few clarifying questions, and some insightful recommendations -the user has their solution and is on with their day.

This happens over and over and it’s a definite testimony to the powerful and support Infusionsoft user base (one of Infusionsoft’s greatest assets, in my opinion).

The only issue is that there are just as many problems that are never posted publicly, and never get the benefit of a group brainstorm.

There are users every day who run into an apparent brick wall, and they wind up exasperated because they think they’ve explored every possible solution; or they’re convinced that there’s a bug, simply because the software isn’t doing the things they expect.

But I wonder what percentage of “bugs” are not bugs at all, and are actually user error? Or a simple misunderstanding, or incomplete understanding of how a feature is intended to work?

I’m definitely not trying to throw anyone under the bus, but I am clearer than ever that the more thoroughly you understand a software, the fewer “bugs” you run into.

You still with me?

As your understanding of the software continues to develop, so too does your comfort and confidence in testing things, isolating issues, and troubleshooting them on your own.

It’s through this process that you learn to identify the different features inside Infusionsoft, and then depending on what you need to happen, you now have the comfort to select the right tool for the job.

The more you understand the software, the more quickly you’ll be able to recognize actual bugs, and you’ll waste less time trying to figure out if you made a mistake.

To steal and immediately butcher a quote from my friend Scott Richins, there are rules to the game; and the more you understand the rules – the better you’ll be at the game. (Watch the original from Scott)

Third Party Advice

Another reason that education is so important is because it can protect you.

Full disclosure, I added this section after I originally published the post – because of an email I received from one of my blog subscribers. Here’s the email:

Education protects you from lousy, or inaccurate advice.

When you don’t feel like you know much, it’s easy to think that everyone you talk to must know more than you.

And that’s not always the case.

The Path Forward

So, education is the key, right?

But I fully understand that you can’t just stop what you’re doing and devote yourself to studying how Infusionsoft is supposed to work, and running through practice scenarios, and mining for hidden “gotchas”.

In fact, I probably wouldn’t recommend it even you did have that kind of free time.

If you’re still with me, and you’re asking “What then, Greg? What do you recommend I do?”

It’s this: The IS Starter Kit

This course is designed to establish the baseline foundation of confidence that is required for using Infusionsoft.

The things in this course are important, I have no doubt about that – but what’s more important is that it helps lay out the rules to the game.

It helps you understand where the boundaries are in Infusionsoft; what’s reasonable to expect, and what isn’t.

Once you know the rules, you can develop a strategy.

You can determine how much of it you want to do yourself, and where to bring in specialists.

The best thing about education is that you get to take it with you. The more you understand the tools you have access to, the more easily you’ll recognize the opportunities to use them, and the more capably you’ll be able to select the right tool, for the right now.

And you’ll never butter your toast with a chainsaw again.