In a conversation I had with someone last week, the topic that was brought up was how do we acquire new knowledge? New knowledge fascinates me because it forms the foundation for any type of change.
Many of us talk of change at work, in a process, a new habit, or a change in direction for our lives. But few ever talk about where they go to stimulate ideas as to what or how to change.
Sometimes the new knowledge that will be helpful is learning how to do something that we don’t currently know. Or finding out that there is another approach that we can take to break through our obstacle.
The more difficult new knowledge is when we keep searching for a new path or finding a new approach to solving a difficult problem. Exposing ourselves to new information that seems related but does not exactly fit. The magic comes when we can take all of what appears to not be helpful and then connect the dots to lead us to a new knowledge or new understanding from these different pieces that helps us immensely.
But where do we find this new knowledge? It’s never in our first decision as to where we are going to look for it. Or that we are even going to look for it. Or who we decide we are going to ask to help us through conversation and learning from another person’s life experience. It never comes from the decision to take an online course to help us learn something new. These are all first steps.
New knowledge appears in the second step. When we are exposed to new thoughts, new ideas, and new concepts. Our first step helped us knock on a new door. It is the second step, when invited into this new house, that gives us the opportunity for new knowledge.
In this second step, I have found that new knowledge is never organized to meet my specific need. You need to find ways to use parts of what we learn to help us breakthrough. Leveraging new knowledge is messy. For it never is valuable when all we do is hear it or be exposed to it.
The difficult part of the second step is squeezing this new knowledge, tasting it and marinating it around the thing you are interested in changing.
Trying what you learn the first time will always lead to imperfect results. Practice is then needed to test, observe, reflect and try again until you get it. Until you break through.
Once you make the pursuit of new knowledge a habit you will find that you can’t wait to learn more. And your life, that once moved an inch at a time, will find the momentum to leap further and faster transforming you into a deeper, more thoughtful and effective person than you ever thought you could be.