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Published on April 26, 2021

7 Tips On Putting Knowledge Into Action

7 Tips On Putting Knowledge Into Action

Knowledge is one thing, but putting that knowledge into action is another. A pile of unread self-help books at the side of an unmade bed or clothes draped over a cross-trainer are useful clues—”the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Knowing what is “in our own best interests” is the easy part. If you exercise regularly and have a well-balanced diet, you will be healthier. That’s knowledge, but it’s not much use unless it is partnered with wisdom, commitment, self-worth, action, and accountability.

They say “Knowledge is power”, but only by putting knowledge into action can you harness that potential. The best place to start is with yourself. The only way to fulfill your potential is to use what you know about yourself.

So, here are seven tips to help you transform knowledge into action.

1. Examine Your Thinking

Knowledge is a useful tool, but how effectively it is put into action depends on how it is applied. You need to discriminate and contextualize knowledge if it is to serve you well.

Just as information for information’s sake has limited value, knowledge on its own can sometimes hold you back by limiting your intuition and common sense. The highly developed human brain can cloud your judgment and rationalize your behavior with damaging results. Decades of reinforcement create beliefs that are so imprinted on your consciousness that they become utterly unquestionable.

The ego, which is attached to the status quo, aims to keep these “certainties” in place to avoid new perspectives and choices. The ego is terrified of change—even change for the better—since its comfort zone is based on familiarity, however debilitating it may be.[1]

2. Value Yourself

Deep down, you know what’s best for yourself. But how much do you value yourself? The extent to which your actions are congruent with what you know is good for you is the extent to which you value yourself.

Whether you are out of balance with work or lifestyle, it is your self-worth compass that will get you back on track—but only if you set it free.

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All too often, old negative feelings of unworthiness prevent self-care and investing in your own well-being. If you value yourself enough, you can break free from these beliefs, make better choices, and act based on knowledge rather than myths.

3. Hire a Life Coach

The role of a life coach is not to make you feel better. It’s to help you see better. Most breakthroughs during a coaching session are the result of the client being able to see their thinking for what it is—completely illogical and fatally flawed. Positive thoughts and potential solutions are often dismissed as your own unchallenged assumptions block your path to a better way.

The ego breathes a sigh of relief: no need to change, to challenge the received wisdom, to take a chance, not even to resolve a chronic issue. It’s too hard. In fact, it’s impossible, so you can stay exactly where you are: stuck, a prisoner of your own thoughts and beliefs—beliefs which can be used as excuses for doing nothing.

But what if the belief isn’t true or, at least, isn’t true anymore? What if there’s another way of looking at this? You need to break this chronic cycle that prevents you from doing what’s best for you. But trying to see an existing paradigm from a new perspective can be like trying to tickle yourself.

The transformational coach’s role is—in essence—to disrupt the negative reflex actions of your thinking, to help you break the cycle that prevents you from doing what’s best for you, and to put your knowledge into action.

“I can’t do anything about that.”

“Why not?”

“Well, because…”

“Is that true?”

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“Of course, it is.”

“Based on what?”

Pause…

The pause is the chink of light that may open a door to the breakthrough. It means that a certainty is being questioned and a new perspective becomes a possibility. Only through disruption can age-old thought patterns be broken. The block fades away and the door is opened.

“Yes, why not? I could at least try this instead. It couldn’t be any worse than it is now. What have I got to lose?”

This is how you can transform paralysis and procrastination into purpose, moving forward with self-empowerment, commitment, and turning knowledge into positive action. In a matter of a few weeks, working with a coach as your thinking partner can facilitate huge changes and seismic shifts in your life.

“Problems can only be resolved at the level beneath that at which they manifest themselves.”—John Whitmore, Coaching for Performance.

“If you want to make minor changes in your life, work on your behaviour. If you want significant, quantum breakthroughs, work on your paradigms.”—Stephen R. Covey

4. Stop Procrastinating

Procrastination can vary from mildly irritating to devastatingly paralyzing. The engine that drives procrastination is fear of the unknown: “If I choose this option, what if..?”

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Another contributor is the perceived need for control—specifically to control the future, including other people’s emotions and actions. Delaying decision-making based on the inability to predict or control the future is about as irrational as it gets. But then, humans are not rational.[2]

Then, there is the fear of regret: “If I get this wrong, I’ll feel terrible. I’ll blame myself.”

This is invariably based on experience and adds to a vicious cycle of negative emotions:

expectation > disappointment > judgement > self-judgement

There is a solution: ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen. Feel into your major organs—mind, heart, and gut—and do something.

5. Trust Yourself

If you are one of those people who tend to dwell on previous decisions that resulted in a less-than-perfect outcome, take a piece of paper and start writing a list of the ones that worked out well. You may be surprised as the list becomes longer and longer.

Accept that due to the variables that are completely out of your control, sometimes things don’t work out exactly as planned. However, when you look at your past actions based on your knowledge, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how successful you’ve been.

So, pat yourself on the back, recognize your past accomplishments, and have faith in your ability to turn knowledge into action.

“At the centre of your being, you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”—Lao Tzu

6. Improve Your Time Management

Time management is boring. It’s mundane and repetitive. It’s for other people, not you. You’re creative. You live in the moment. Worst of all, time management is controlling and restrictive. You need space to express yourself organically in your own unique way.

On the other hand, you hate it when you leave things to the last minute—something comes up, then you’re in a rush and feel unprepared. This creates stress, and it’s ten minutes into your presentation before you’re really in the flow.

Come to think of it, knowing those tedious admin tasks are yet to be done kind of hangs over you like a cloud and dilutes the pleasure you get from the things that you really enjoy. Is time management controlling? Or could it be liberating?

7. Work With an Accountability Partner

Whether it’s mindfulness or the gym, committing to your own well-being can be hard, and actually following through on that commitment is often even more challenging.

Having an accountability partner is a great way of keeping on track. It may even introduce some healthy competition. The important thing is that it gets the job done. Not only will you achieve your well-being objectives, but you will also enhance your self-worth, thereby increasing your chances of success with the next activity you choose.

Conclusion

By having awareness of your knowledge, whether it derives from formal training, work, or life experience, you are in a better position to use it in context.

You can use what you know not only for absolute decision-making and action but also for weighing up the probability of outcomes. With the confidence of this awareness, you will find putting knowledge into action empowering, enjoyable, and rewarding.

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Featured photo credit: Madara Parma via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Forbes: This Is How Your Thoughts Become Your Reality
[2] Association of Psychological Science: Why Wait? The Science Behind Procrastination

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Gray Hughes

Life coach (using the motivational 3 c's Model) and writer.

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Last Updated on April 26, 2021

How to Know Which Types of Learning Styles Work for You?

How to Know Which Types of Learning Styles Work for You?

One of the biggest realizations I had as a kid is that teaching in school could be hit or miss for students. We all have our own different types of learning styles. Even when I was in study groups, we all had our own ways of uncovering solutions to questions.

It wasn’t only until later in my life did I realize how important it is to know your own learning style. As soon as you know how you learn and the best way to learn, you can better retain information. This information could be crucial to your job, future promotions, and overall excelling in life.

Best of all about this information is that, it’s not hard to figure out what works best for you. There are broad categories of learning styles, so it’s a matter of finding which one we gravitate towards most.

What Are the Types of Learning Styles?

Before we get into the types of learning styles, there’s one thing to know:

We all learn through repetition.

No matter how old you are, studies show that repetition allows us to retain and learn new information.[1] The big question now is what kind of repetition is needed. After all, we all learn and process information differently.

This is where the types of learning styles come in. There are eight in total and there is one or two that we prefer over others. This is important because when reading these learning styles, you’ll feel like you’d prefer a mixture of these styles.

That’s because we do prefer a combination. Though there will be one style that will be more predominate over the others. The key is finding which one it is.

Visual Learning

A visual learner (also known as the spatial learner) excels at deciphering anything visual – typically maps and graphs.

If you are this type of learner, you likely excelled at geometry in math class but struggled with arithmetic and numbers. To this day, you might also struggle with reading and writing to a degree.

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While visual learners are described as “late bloomers,” they are highly imaginative. They also process what they see much faster than what they hear.

Verbal Learning

Verbal learning, on the other hand, is learning through what’s spoken. Verbal learners excel in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Because of that, they are likely the ones to find thrills in tongue twists, word games, and puns.

They also thoroughly enjoy drama, writing, and speech classes. But give them maps, or challenge them to think outside of the box and they’ll struggle a bit.

Logical Learning

Not to be confused with visual learners, these learners are good at math and logic puzzles. Anything involving numbers or other abstract visual information is where they excel.

They can also analyze cause and effect relationships quite well. Part of that is due to their thinking process being linear.

Another big difference is their need to quantify everything. These people love grouping information, creating specific lists, agendas or itineraries.

They also have a love for strategy games and making calculations in their heads.

Auditory Learning

Similar to verbal learning, this type of learning style focuses on sounds on a deeper level. These people think chronologically and excel more in the step-by-step methods. These are likely the people who will watch Youtube videos to learn or do something the most.

These learners also have a great memory of conversations and love debates and discussions. Chances are likely these people excel at anything oral.

Also as the name suggests, these individuals have great musical talents. They can decern notes, instruments, rhythms and tones. That being said, they will have a tough time interpreting body language, expressions and gestures. This also applies to charts, maps and graphs.

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Social Learning

Otherwise known as the interpersonal learner, their skills are really unique. They don’t particularly excel in classrooms but rather through talking to other people.

These are the people who are excited for group conversations or group projects. Mainly because they are gifted with coming up with ideas and discussing them.

They also have a good understanding of people’s emotions, facial expressions, and relationship dynamics. They are also likely the first people to point out the root causes of communication issues.

Intrapersonal Learning

The reverse of interpersonal learning, these people prefer learning alone. These are the people who love self-study and working alone. Typically, intrapersonal learners are deeply in tune with themselves meaning they know who they are, their feelings, and their own capabilities.

This type of learning style means you love learning something on your own and typically every day. You also have innate skills in managing yourself and indulging in self-reflection.

Physical Learning

Also known as kinesthetic learning, these people love doing things with their hands. These are people who loved pottery or shop class. If you’re a physical learner, you’ll find you have a huge preference in using your body in order to learn.

This means not just pottery or shop class you enjoyed. You may also have loved sports or any other art medium like painting or woodwork. Anything that involved you learning through physical manipulation you enjoyed and excelled at.

Though this doesn’t just apply to direct physical activities. A physical learner may also find that they learn well when both reading on any subject and pacing or bouncing your leg at the same time.

Naturalistic Learning

The final learning style is naturalistic. These are people who process information through patterns in nature. They also apply scientific reasoning in order to understand living creatures.

Not many people may be connected to this one out of the types of learning styles primarily because of those facts. Furthermore, those who excel in this learning end up being farmers, naturalists or scientists.

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These are the people who love everything with nature. They appreciate plants, animals, and rural settings deeply compared to others.

How to Know Which One(s) Suit You Better?

So now that you have an idea of all the types of learning styles we have another question:

Which one(s) are best for you?

As a reminder, all of us learn through a combination of these learning styles. This makes pinpointing these styles difficult since our learning is likely a fusion of two or more of those styles.

Fortunately, there are all kinds of methods to narrow down which learner you are. Let’s explore the most popular one: the VARK model.

VARK Model

Developed by Neil Fleming and David Baume, the VARK model is basically a conversation starter for teachers and learners.[2] It takes the eight types of learning styles above and condenses them into four categories:

  • Visual – those who learn from sight.
  • Auditory – those who learn from hearing.
  • Reading/writing – those who learn from reading and writing.
  • Kinesthetic – those who learn from doing and moving.

As you can probably tell, VARK comes from the first letter of each style.

But why use this particular model?

This model was created not only for discussion purposes but for learners to know a few key things — namely understanding how they learn.

Because our school system is focusing on a one-size-fits-all model, there are many of us who struggle learning in school. While we may no longer go to school, these behaviors persisted into our adult lives regardless. While we aren’t learning about algebra or science, we may be learning new things about our job or industry. Knowing how to best retain that information for the future helps in so many ways.

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As such, it can be frustrating when we’re in a classroom setting and aren’t understanding anything. That or maybe we’re listening to a speech or reading a book and have no clue what’s going on.

This is where VARK comes back in. To quote Fleming and Baume:

“VARK above all is designed to be a starting place for a conversation among teachers and learners about learning. It can also be a catalyst for staff development- thinking about strategies for teaching different groups can lead to more, and appropriate, variety of learning and teaching.”

Getting into the specifics, this is what’s known as metacognition.[3] It helps you to understand how you learn and who you are. Think of it as a higher order of thinking that takes control over how you learn. It’s impossible to not use this while learning.

But because of that metacognition, we can pinpoint the different types of learning styles that we use. More importantly, what style we prefer over others.

Ask These Questions

One other method that I’ll mention is the research that’s done at the University of Waterloo.[4] If you don’t want to be using a lot of brainpower to pinpoint, consider this method.

The idea with this method is to answer a few questions. Since our learning is a combination of styles, you’ll find yourself leaning to one side over the other with these questions:

  • The active/reflective scale: How do you prefer to process information?
  • The sensing/intuitive scale: How do you prefer to take in information?
  • The visual/verbal scale: How do you prefer information to be presented?
  • The sequential/global scale: How do you prefer to organize information?

This can narrow down how you learn and provide some other practical tips for enhancing your learning experience.

Final Thoughts

Even though we have a preferred style of learning and knowing what that is is beneficial, learning isn’t about restriction. Our learning style shouldn’t be the sole learning style we rely on all the time.

Our brain is made of various parts and whatever style we learn activates certain parts of the brain. Because of this fact, it would be wise to consider other methods of learning and to give them a try.

Each method I mentioned has its merits and there’s not one dominate or superior method. What method we like is entirely up to our preferences. So be flexible with those preferences and uncover what style works best for you.

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Featured photo credit: Anna Earl via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] BrainScape: Repetition is the mother of all learning
[2] Neil Fleming and David Baume: VARKing Up the Right Tree
[3] ERIC: Metacognition: An Overview
[4] University of Waterloo: Understanding Your Learning Style

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