Monday, August 08, 2005

Is this you?

If you've seen the new movie "Hitch" there's a scene where a young man shows up all decked out in a new suit and shiny shoes.

He says "But this isn't me".

The fact is, what he was doing before wasn't working, but habit still insisted that he do it "his" way.

If what you were doing up until now wasn't working, maybe you should try something different.
That's what learning is all about.

So when should you start changing things?

I believe you have to go through two stages before you get the point where you can adjust things.

First off, you have to learn what you don't know.

Would you buy a brand new car then take it home and start "tweaking" the engine if you didn't have a clue about cars?

Hopefully not.

You'd probably want to get a detailed manual and learn what you were doing BEFORE you started taking things apart.

This seems like a pretty obvious example, but the same thing applies with any work you do.

You can't realistically expect to read a book then arbitrarily start making a few changes here and there, expecting it to work for you. You might get lucky and have it... but that's just dumb luck.

So what should you do?

Spend time learning the system of your work and what is really required. If youare reading a book about the nature of your work, then maybe try to get into the mind of the author.

After studying the material at least 2 or 3 times, I start going through it with the mindset of "Why does the writer do this?", "Why doesn't the writer do it that way?", "What would happen if I changed this?".

When you can reasonably guess WHY the author did something, you'll have reached stage 2...
Understanding.

When you reach understanding, you'll be free to begin adjusting things, BECAUSE you can see the cause and effect relationship behind what you have in front of you.

Have you ever read a book, then come back to read it again a year later. Have you ever found it to be a totally different book?

For me, many times the material is even more powerful, because my level of understanding has increased.

While on the first read, I was just accepting what I was reading, a year later I can more accurately compare the writing with my own experience and understanding.

When you understand the reason behind what's being done, you are in a better position to make adjustments.

The key is to:
Learn
Understand
Adjust

So now is this really you?

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