Learn in Practice

Each of us are made up of the actions that we have taken to this point and what we have learned from them.  We often want to simplify decisions with who we want to become next down to a following a “steps to success” pattern provided in a framework.  If you take this training and follow this precise regimen, you will land successfully in your ideal career.

Herminia Ibarra, a professor at the London Business School offers what I believe is a very rational perspective.  Her advise is, “First act and then think.”  A key emphasis of this axiom is that we are each made up of numerous possibilities and relate amid unique environments.  “We discover the possibilities by doing, by trying new activities, building new networks, finding new role models.”  “We learn who we are in practice, not in theory.”

If my ideal career were to become a championship level football coach in the NFL, all I might need to do was to read the offensive playbook of last year’s Super Bowl champion.  That is what the most successful coach used as their framework.  Having never taken any actions myself and having never learned from those actions, what would make me believe I could learn from simply reading a framework?

Paul Graham, computer scientist and start-up investor, offers the following insight:  “Instead of working back from a goal, work forward from promising situations.  This is what most successful people do anyway.  In the graduation speech approach, you decide what you want to be in twenty years, and then ask: what should I do now to get there?  I propose instead that you don’t commit to anything in the future, but just look at the options available now, and choose those that will give you the most promising range of options afterward.”

An applied learning practice will get you to where you are most suited to be.  Act, think, learn, apply and repeat.


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