What is Learning Really?
by Kevin D. Crone
What is the relationship of learning to success? Yesterday, someone asked me to distinguish why some people seem to advance and get ahead and others seem to never get better. Well, what is “getting better”? Is it attaining more information? Is it studying book knowledge? Is it understanding concepts? Is it using critical thinking skills?
I’m sure all of those elements help in figuring out what to do, but I received an email from a friend who used the term “indices of knowledge.” He went on to explain that what he learned is that knowledge in books are just indexes of knowledge that is important – some more important than others. It really isn’t knowledge, he says, until you understand it and apply it to what you want in your life. Today, with so many addicted to information from the Internet and the over emphasis on book knowledge, many don’t know what it is to really learn and succeed.
An old financial mentor of mine, and a successful businessman, Stu Scott, on a Monday Morning Mentorship teleconference call, told us that many educated people stopped learning after university. (And he is not sure they learned much there.) When the economy or business changes, they can’t adapt and succeed. Business success isn’t about conceptual or book learning. It comes from action.
What do I mean? What is the process of learning?
Here is my condensed version, whether it be an organization or individual.
We make clear what we want and what’s required for our life and business, listen for what’s going on and what’s important. We then quickly put a plan together and implement it. Then we see what really happened, I mean the truth, then see what’s now possible, what’s the next step toward where we are going. Remember the term “Learning Organization”? It is collecting, disbursing, and systemizing learning that all can implement. That’s it!
Do most people believe they are the architects of their life? Probably not. They haven’t articulated what they want to create in life and business, built a little belief in it and then got into massive action. Stu said on that call the successful, the wealthy, pull the trigger on ideas because they realize they are only getting started. The learning begins. The unsuccessful just keep looking for information or keep the studying going.
In my client coaching, I say many times that the only action from seminars is usually just taking another seminar. It’s as if the content has nothing to do with us. We are correct. It is someone else’s. Our learning hasn’t begun. Can there be so much wrong with us that we need to consistently take seminars? You can hear it in the language of the education /seminar /workshop junkie. It’s as if they are speaking from others theories and concepts, not from what they learned. They give away their own power to learn from their experience. Just imagine getting all the best concepts around. Would you act on them?
A week ago, I was in a meeting where the contrast about action and its relationship to success was clear. Two people sitting across from each other, who owned their own companies, had the same products, were in the same industry, but were getting different results. One learned how to fail in another business, then got his act together in the present one. He figured out his customers, his offering to them, and his people and how to engage and build them, implemented what had to be done and put them into systems and practices. Even in a tough market, his company is growing.
The other individual, sitting three feet away, claimed his people and the over-demanding customers were the cause of his poor margins. Which one is learning, changing and growing as business people? One wasn’t aware, wasn’t figuring out, wasn’t implementing new practices, and wasn’t into action.
So, action is all there is! It’s the source of learning, innovation and results. Like you, I’ve felt success and failure. It’s hard failing. It takes less energy to succeed, so why not put energy into getting better?
- Don’t get bluffed out by worldviews or the latest concepts.Be clear and specific about what you want. Then listen on behalf of it.
- Distill what’s important then get into some growth structure that pulls you to the results you want.
- Make sure the structure contains practice and implementation with a group who are committed to action and receive objective and supportive coaching. Your confidence and competence will grow and the learning will stick.
You’re not a tree, you can move and change. You’re not missing much to get into action. You’re different, smart and have every right to succeed and achieve!
So what are you going to do?
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