Practical Advice To Go From Learning to Doing
I am one of those people who loved school. Not the social aspect, but the actual learning. I have always loved to read, write, research, you name it. At this point in my life, I think I am finished with formal schooling (I keep talking myself out of doing a Doctorate) but my love of learning has continued. For the last few years I have been obsessed with Psychology topics, specifically those geared towards personality and how to improve yourself.
One of my favorite podcasts, The Science of Success, has an eye opening episode focused on Bridging the Learning Doing Gap. This is totally me! I will spend countless, obsessive hours reading books, listening to podcasts, reading articles, taking classes…only to do little to nothing with the knowledge!
What is it?
Basically, the Learning Doing Gap is spending a ton of time researching a topic and then not taking any action based on the knowledge you acquired. Or maybe you take action for a bit but don’t stick with it long enough to actually experience the benefits.
If you follow this pattern, you have the first trait of success - the growth mindset. You listen to podcasts daily, maybe read a non-fiction book or two a month and learn a ton of information. Those are great habits and definitely the first step, but you find yourself not moving in the right direction despite all this knowledge. According to the Bridging the Learning Doing Gap podcast episode, Peter Shallard, “The Shrink For Entrepreneurs”, explains that it’s because you aren’t doing anything with what you are learning.
Learning helps us feel productive, without actually doing anything. We feel smarter by listening to a podcast about being more assertive. That book on emotional eating was informative. But if you don’t take action on what you learned, you won’t benefit from it.
How to fix it?
OK, so now that you recognize the problem, you need to know you aren’t alone. The percentage of people who take the actions are low. That’s why there’s a 1%. The Warren Buffett’s of the world read a ton, but also apply the knowledge.
To get out of the cycle, you need accountability. Do you have a friend on this personal development journey with you? Talk to each other about the videos and podcasts you are consuming and ask what each of you is doing to move forward.
If you don’t have a friend who is into this, find an online community or a friend who will be supportive. You may inspire that friend to go on the journey too! Also, look for like minded people in your area to connect with. TBH that last one is more Michelle than me! I am not super outgoing, so I prefer the online or one friend approach :) Just do what works for your personality!
Start a goals list that you do every morning. Reflect on the topics you have been learning about and set a small goal to make a move in the direction you want to go.
For example, a longer term goal I have is to get back to a size 6. I know what I need to do. Eat better and exercise. We all know that! So instead of doing what I have done in the past - obsessively searching for a new diet and workout plan - I am identifying new small habits to move me in the right direction.
My habits look something like this:
Wake up with 10-15 mins of slow flow yoga
Today I will eat my food at home instead of ordering in or going out.
I will focus on ab strength training. 3 sets of 3 moves.
Meditate for at least 5 mins
To be honest, I am usually an all or nothing personality. I can be super focused and get a ton done, or I can do absolutely nothing! The best course of action for me is to take it one step at a time. I plan on taking one thing I have learned and implement something to move me 1% in the right direction. This will help me make slow and steady progress, but prevent what usually happens to me - complete burnout.
For high achievers like Michelle and I, we often feel like we aren’t making enough progress. What we have learned, is that you have to celebrate success. Because we have a limiting belief of not being enough, we feel like we have to overcompensate by being the best. The problem with this thinking is that you fail to see when you are making small progress. This type of progress is compounding, just like interest. If you keep on the path, you will inevitably be further ahead in a year.
In an all or nothing mindset, if you aren’t the best you give up. I think back on my life and if I would’ve stuck with so many things I started, I would be so much closer to my goals.
Here are some things to remember:
Progress is progress - celebrate any movement in the direction of the person you want to be
It’s not going to be perfect
Think about your ideal self, what would she do?
Thank yourself for all you are doing to improve