“It’s not what you know. It’s what you do with what you know, that makes the difference.”
Just think about that phrase for a moment. What does it mean? For me, read lots, study even more and really understand the subject you are learning, but don’t stop there. That is only part of package. If you really want to learn and be competent at a new skill you have to practice and do something with it. I’m not saying if you are a brain surgeon read a couple of books on anatomy, then attend a couple of classes on removing the brain and complete a full frontal lobotomy. There is a point in your medical training when you need to practice or just simply ‘do’, hopefully under supervision to gain more learning.
Try this exercise. Think about a profession, and then imagine, what the attributes of someone who is highly effective at that role would be. Write down as many as possible on a sheet of paper, but at least ten. Then decide if each of your chosen attributes is about knowledge, something you need to know or a skill, something you ‘do’. For some attributes you may have difficulty in deciding. They can’t be both skill and knowledge, so decide which is the most appropriate.
Please don’t read on, until you have completed the exercise.
How many attributes were skills and how many were about knowledge? There is no right or wrong answer, just learning. If you had more skills than knowledge against each attribute, what does this tell you? “It’s not what you know. It’s what you do with what you know, that makes the difference”. You could be the best read and academic person in the world, but unless you do something with your knowledge you are not going to make a difference to yourself or others around you.
So, why don’t people “do” the do? A lot of people have told me that they have been on some great training courses. They have been completely fired up to try something new, but then do nothing. With excuses like;
- I didn’t get the chance.
- I will do when I have time.
- I need to go on more courses to learn a bit more.
- And many more.
My personal opinion is that this stems from the fear of failure. If I don’t ‘do’ my new skill then I can’t possibly fail, because to fail would say something about me. Doing something new feels uncomfortable, it’s normal. If you are uncomfortable it’s your body and mind preparing itself for the new experiences that will happen. It can then respond in the best way to deal with the challenges ahead.
Actually, people in this world who are highly effective in what they do, have failed on many occasions. If you are highly effective in what you do, I’m sure you agree. That is part of developing a new skill. Failure gives you the opportunity to see what went wrong. You can then look at the situation from a different perspective. With this new learning, you can then make the appropriate adjustments to your approach. Change really won’t happen until you ‘do’.
There are plenty of courses and books to read on your chosen subject. Ask yourself, will this extra knowledge help me to develop my skills or am I just protecting myself from failure.
So ‘just let go’ and really make a difference.
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