Increasing your knowledge of something is relatively easy. Picking up new techniques and skills and opening up to new concepts can be invigorating. However putting that newfound knowledge to work to get the desired outcome can be a more difficult task. Sometimes we get too comfortable in the learning phase and stay there, not putting our education to work.
You didn’t expand your knowledge to just have it sit on a shelf so use it. Apply your education to your goals to get the outcome you intended.
Measuring Your Progress
What do you consider progress? In order to know if you are making progress, you have to have a clear understanding of what it is. If you’ve decided to lose weight and eat healthier, perhaps you have educated yourself on healthier alternatives to junk food and various diet plans. If learning to make better choices was one of the goals to get you closer to your ultimate goal, then you have made good progress.
While this is a good step toward your goal, knowing what to eat and not doing anything else will not get you to your desired outcome. Just knowing that you should snack on apple slices instead of potato chips is not going to shed pounds. You actually have to eat the apple. Apply the information you’ve learned.
When you’ve spent a lot of time and energy on learning, convincing yourself that you’re moving forward isn’t difficult. But effort is not always synonymous with results. Be sure you’re measuring what you want to measure. Decide if you want effort or results.
If you love to learn but are timid about putting your knowledge into action, you might have a tendency to measure your progress based on your knowledge and understanding. If so, ask yourself if your life has changed measurably over the last three years. Think, have you made strides toward your goals. If someone were looking on the outside in, how would they grade your progress?
Changing to more outcome-oriented measurement criteria may seem a bit harsh at first. But, if you’re trying to achieve visible progress, an outcome-oriented tactic will help you down the road.
An Outcome-Oriented Tactic
First you need to consider how you are going to measure your achievements. Set a practical, outcome-based goal. Then continue through your learning as usual, but focus most of your efforts toward the achievement of your ultimate goal.
Measure the amount of time you spend learning versus the amount of time you spend applying that acquired knowledge. To control the amount of time spent learning, promise to only to devote 10% of your free time to it. The other 90% of your time should be spend on applying your knowledge.
Think of it this way, you can spend an entire day to learning, and then spend the following nine days to applying that knowledge. Or if you don’t have that kind of time at once, spend 45 minutes learning daily and the rest of the day to using your education. Remember to focus on learning only what applies to your goal. Don’t get sidetracked with other things.
Releasing the idea that learning is synonymous with progress may be difficult at first. After all, most of us spent our early years in school and our outcome was based on learning. Finding out if you really know as much as you think you do can be scary. It’s probably the ultimate challenge.
Keep in mind that you usually get the most out of the things on which you place your focus. If you focus most of your attention on your learning, you’ll get just that, more learning. Instead, turn your focus to your desired outcome, and you’ll get the outcome you desire.