Are You Really Learning Much? – (Reflections from a rather humbling realization)

So, if you learn something, and then do it, and keep doing it, and then you learn something else, and then do that, and keep doing it, and then you keep repeating this pattern.  Well, I just want you to know I come really close to envying you.

For those of us who are native non-techie (a digital non-native) — you know, born in time to see the Beatles live on Ed Sullivan the night it actually happened! – we have a disadvantage.  We did not learn while we were still young how to keep doing new things, tackling new technologies.

"Can it be that it was all so simple then?" - yes, simpler - not anywhere near as good, but simpler
“Can it be that it was all so simple then?” – yes, simpler – not anywhere near as good, but simpler

Our television sets had an on-off button.  And a knob to turn to change channels.  To get in our locked car, we had to insert a key and turn.

I, like so many others, never did learn how to program my Video Recorder.  If I wanted to record something, I had to be in front of the television, and hit record as the program started.

A few months ago, my wife’s coffee pot died.  She gave me very clear instructions – “find me a pot with an on-off switch.  Nothing else.  No digital timing programming thingy – just an on-off switch.”  (Bed Bath & Beyond did not have one.  Yep – found it on Amazon).

In other words, we learned how to do something, and then it pretty much never changed on us.  Life was so much simpler, so easy to manage.

Not anymore.  About the time I get used to one operating system on my iPhone, they (the evil “they”) change it…again!

So, if you are young, a digital native, happy with the newest upgrade…  well, as I said, I envy you.

I think that the younger digital natives kind of learn to live this way; learn something, do it, keep doing it, now learn something else new; repeat.

Now, my problem is kind of the classic “knowing-doing gap” problem.,

I have presented synopses of many business books.  And, I probably look for a quote or two from a specific book handout nearly every day.  So, I scroll through my list of handouts.  (I do have them all nicely “filed” in my Google Drive folder — so, I’m only a partial “Luddite”).

And, I have had a humbling realization lately.  I will be scrolling thorough my book handouts, and see one for a book that I “remember” — so I decide to re-visit it.  And, time after time, this is my discovery – “you know, I read this.  And I was going to do ________ after reading this book.  And, I never quite got into the habit.” 

In other words, I did not truly learn what I thought I had learned.

never eat alone coverThis hit me today as I glanced at my handout for the terrific book, Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.  He wrote this:

Sticking to the people we already know is a tempting behavior.  But unlike some forms of dating, a networker isn’t looking to achieve only a single successful union.  Creating an enriching circle of trusted relationships requires one to be out there, in the mix, all the time. 

And I remember thinking – “I’ve got to get out there and meet people more.  Network more.  Get in the mix.”

I presented this book in 2006.  That “decision” – to get out there more – well, fallen by the wayside.

In other words, I read it.  I can tell you why it’s important.

But I haven’t done it – certainly not enough.

What have you learned that you have allowed to fall by the wayside?  Time to get back at it!

So, get back at it!

2 thoughts on “Are You Really Learning Much? – (Reflections from a rather humbling realization)

  1. Randy, dear Randy.

    Stop and smell the flowers.

    How many books do you read in a year? How many books have you read in the 16 years of FFBS?

    Now, think about how many words of wisdom there have been in all those books and how many you have shared with us over those years. From a performance management perspective, it is recommended to have only about 2-3 goals every year. Why, because anymore and they just become noise. They may be the best thing since sliced bread for you, but it matters not if there are too many.

    Focus. The best leaders narrow their focus and the focus of their organizations and people. That way, they know things will be accomplished.

    I had a manager approach me a few weeks ago with a request to expand the goal section in our performance management form so he could encompass all the goals his boss had given him. Understand, our form has room for 10 separate goals. He needed those 10 spaces and more room in each cell because each of the ten goals had at least 8-10 mini goals. FIre hose goal management – aint gonna happen.

    One consistent goal you and Karl have had is to help us learn and pick out a few gold nuggets for ourselves. You have accomplished that. Continue and feel good about your focus, not your fire hose.

  2. Ed, this is a great reminder. You are right, of course — too many goals, too many items to focus on, and you get buried in overload in a hurry.

    So, thank you.

    (But, alas, some of what I am not getting done really is directly related to the main items I need to focus on… So, even with your very nice and affirming and on-target reminder, I still have work to do).

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