The Difference Between Knowledge & Understanding

Do you ever deal with the frustration of dealing with clients who constantly say they know what they need to do, that they know how to do things, only to watch them flounder and fail dismally as they fall off track and cannot seem to actually do the things that they say they know?

Are you looking for the key piece of knowledge that can help them get to the next level?

Knowledge Is Not Power.  Understanding Is.

I had this video from Destin @ Smarter Every Day pop up in my YouTube list a while ago.  Destin's videos are always awesome, but this one really drove home an idea that I think a lot of people know conceptually, but can't really articulate.

[video_player type="youtube" width="560" height="315" align="center" margin_top="0" margin_bottom="20"]aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cueW91dHViZS5jb20vd2F0Y2g/dj1NRnpEYUJ6QmxMMA==[/video_player]

The Challenge Was Simple

Only one thing had changed, ride a bike that turns in the opposite direction as expected.  Logically, we know that all we have to do is to turn the opposite way.  Simple enough in theory.  Horribly difficult in reality.  Destin took 8 months to learn how to ride the backwards bike, his 6 year old son took 2 weeks.  Amazing right?

We Do The Same Thing With Learning

So many businesses these days is more and more focused on the knowledge and the transfer of information & more importantly - skills.

  • Online Courses
  • Live Events
  • Retreats
  • Webinars
  • Trainings

Information transfer is incredibly important.  You can't do what you don't know how to do.  But know how doesn't equal understanding or being able to execute a skill successfully.

What is fascinating though is the number of people I speak to who know they want to build their business, develop an event, run Facebook ads.... the list goes on...  but just like the backwards bike they get railroaded onto their old ways of thinking... their old patterns rise up to the forefront.

They know better, but still, they cannot DO what they know.

The Value Of Repetition Based Training

There's a reason professional athletes have a training routine and a plan that they follow.  As a teenager, I was an elite level basketball player.  Training was highly structured, repeating drills and skills over and over.

Once a month or so, we would introduce new techniques or drills - but for the most part, it was repetition.  Why?  The exact reason Destin couldn't ride the backwards bike.  Skills are developed over hours of training.... not a whimsical realisation from a powerpoint or a book.

His thought process and body movement was so ingrained in the old habit from the repetition - his responses were automatic.  There was no thinking, it just happened.

Education and mental skills requires the same process, it's just that for many people, once they have learned something once, they feel like they have "done it" - which really isn't true.  I've even heard incredibly successful business people be surprised when they got new value out of content they had heard or experienced before.

No athlete would ever say "oh we did free throws 2 weeks ago, I don't need to do that this week", or "I did bench press last week, don't need to do that again this week".  Yet we do that all the time when it comes to education and training people.

It's quite funny when to even write when I put it in those terms, but people do this every day.

We fall into the trap that because we know something new, we think that we understand that new thing - and as soon as the pressure comes on, we fail to get the job done properly.  A mentor of mine has a great saying - "Pressure creates diamonds, but it also creates rubble".  Which are you?

Why Don't People Do Repetition in Business Training?

It's typically boring.  Nobody wants to watch the same powerpoint presentation over and over again.  People don't tend to like to write the same ad copy 15 times to improve and get better.  People also tend to dislike critical feedback over and over that is required for growth.  So how to we approach it?

In short, make it fun, make it competitive and score the results.  In other words, use games & make it fun - even when they fail and fall flat on their face.  There's a reason games are so fun and addictive.  Games enable us to build the skills while developing repetitions doing the task - in a similar way to going to the gym or training for sport.

Think about teenagers.  Many struggle to focus on class & get homework done - yet they can spend HOURS playing Minecraft, Call Of Duty, Battlefield, Overwatch...

My Challenge To You...

If you're in the business of teaching people ANYTHING.  It's important to know what it feels like to learn something like the backwards bike - so you can relate to what your students & clients are going through.  Here's your challenge:

If you're a parent, and don't play computer games, get your teenager to teach you how to play a computer game.  Preferably a 3D style game where you can look around and aim as well as move around an world.  3D shooters are a good example of this.  You'll quickly find a lot of common skills that your teenager understands that you find very challenging to actually do.

If you're a gamer, invert your mouse or stick control from what you typically use.  If you use "standard" use "inverted" if you use "inverted", change to "standard".

You'll soon experience a similar level of challenge and frustration I imagine Destin went through in this experiment.  Minus the pain and fear of falling over and hurting yourself.

All of a sudden "trying harder" or "just do ____" is not helpful in any way - and can be highly frustrating - both for the teacher and the learner.  What I love about the backwards bike, and these challenges, is they are HONEST.  You can't trick the bike into understanding.  You can't pretend.  You ride it or you don't.  The line is very clear.

The Point....

It's easy to say you know something.  It takes a lot more work and effort to develop understanding.  It's easy to say that you've taught something to your clients before.  What's more challenging, is creating an environment that allows them to develop skills and understanding.

Very few people in the training space actually know this, let alone do this.  Once you can start to incorporate more experience based training into your programs - you'll begin to stand out a mile from the crowd - and your clients will thank you for it.

Where To Start...

It's difficult to articulate experienced based education without first being exposed to it yourself.  I highly recommend checking out the 8Percent Festival in October.  It's all about the convergence of entreprenurship and art.  There will be your more traditional keynotes, but also panels and hands on workshops including site visits with some of Melbourne's most innovative companies (for VIP's only - and I've seen the businesses, they're incredible).  Check out the speakers at the link below.... http://8percentfestival.com8percent-festival


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