“In vain you have acquired knowledge if you have not imparted to others” (Deuteronomy Rabbah)

My friend and former colleague, Gerrit Cloete (owner of Productivity Pitstop), spent a week at the family’s seaside vacation home to catch up with family and friends. Upon his return, he related one of his experiences with me:  “I went for a walk along the rocky coastline and sat down at a pool to enjoy some ‘being’ time. I watched small waves spill over into the pool, creating bubbles on the surface of the pool. As the surface of the pool returned to calm, the bubbles started ‘popping’ and I was amazed to see the impact of that seemingly insignificant event. The hardly visible bubble (a thin sphere of liquid enclosing air or another gas) had an expanding ‘ripple effect’ when it popped. There was nothing magic inside the bubble – just air that was captured in the thin sphere of liquid and then released again into the same environment from which it came, but nevertheless offering the pool something extra – a ripple effect”.

Gerrit then went on to ask some interesting questions:

  • What can you and I capture from our own daily experiences and release back into the environment with a bang, creating an ever-increasing impact?
  • What are the waves of insight, learning, questioning and reflecting that we allow into the pools of our minds?
  • Do we create the opportunity for capturing what life washes into our minds, creating bubbles that we can later pop and spread?
  • Are we putting ourselves in the place with the most potential for “capturing and popping” (learning and sharing)?

Positioning yourself for maximum growth requires applying some or more of the following deliberate action steps:

  1. Becoming a voracious reader – gaining insight from others’ learning journeys and life experiences. Attempt to understand the perspectives that are being expressed, the lessons that are being learned and the principles that are being espoused.
  2. Exposing yourself to diversity – “sameness” doesn’t accelerate development, “difference” does. A difference of opinion forces you to reflect on the validity and rightness of your own opinion and may create opportunity for you to modify your thought processes and conclusions.
  3. Relating to others who operate outside of your own vocation/industry – valuable insights can be gained by being exposed to problem-solving and innovation from other business contexts and processes.
  4. Appointing a coach – submitting to the accountability structure that a coach provides accelerates action and provides opportunity to attempt new ways of doing things. A coach won’t ‘tell’ you what to do, but will probably challenge you to higher levels of thinking and planning.
  5. Finding a forum for passing on gained knowledge – a community group, a school, the local shelter, etc. When you teach, you learn. Capture learning and then pop it appropriately to as many people as possible.
  6. Attending company-sponsored training and development events – many companies have skills development plans in place and the available workshops to close skill gaps. Discuss your skills development plan with your boss and action it.
  7. Exploring e-learning opportunities – there are literally hundreds of thousands of short courses available on various platforms on the internet, some of them very helpful. Do the necessary research to find the best ones in your field of interest.

You have the potential, not only to accelerate your own learning and skills, but also to impart the same for the benefit of others. Release what you discover – pop your ‘learn’ bubbles and make an impact.

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