Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Do You Train for Your Profession?

A formal education is a great place to gather information. To ensure we memorize that information, we are given homework and class assignments. Then the instructor administers tests to see how much information we retained. If you pass those tests, many believe they have earned the title of being the best at their craft. What those people fail to realize is that they only know information. To be the best, takes training and practice. In most cases, that requires a specific focus on initiatives to develop mastery of skills and competencies.  

While a formal education is important, it is not necessarily the path to master one’s craft. Education provides information and information does not cause action. For example, many people have information on how to
lose weight. Yet, they take no actions to lose it. If we stay with that example, losing weight requires practices. Each day one takes on practices that support the intention. Too often, people believe the intention is to lose weight. This belief obscures both information and practices. While it’s true the information about dieting may appear to be about losing weight, the information itself cannot make it happen. If you go beyond the information of weight loss diets, you will see that it is about being healthy. One step further could lead you to being physically fit.

The outcome of heath and physical fitness cannot be realized through information. There must be a training regimen in place to support the realization of proper diet and/or exercise. And you practice on a daily basis.  What does this have to do with formal education? Everything!

As with a diet, information from books will unlikely give one mastery over their profession. If it did, that could be a problem since 42% of college graduates never read another book after they graduate.[1] Therefore, like a weight lose program, one must be clear about the intentions of their profession. If a person simply wants a to have a job, that intention will produce one outcome. If it is to master a profession, it will require training during and outside of work to support that outcome. And the training doesn’t stop because you have the job of your desire. 

How do you train to master your profession? Like dieting, if you are only reading books, there is a chance you will have only information. And it does not guarantee you will be the best.

Those who master their profession learn to invent it. When you look at people like Muhammad Ali, Michael Angelo, Albert Einstein and Michael Jordan, you see examples of people who mastered their craft. Even though their professions existed before they were born, they invented the future of their craft. They may have studied books, watched competitors and imagined new ways. They also carved out time to contemplate outcomes that had not been achieved by anyone as well as time to experiment with new training methods. Without the commitment to produce results beyond what they read in books, they would have been just as good as everyone else who read the same book.

As you can see, information is not the panacea to achieve mastery. It might help you gain insight into an area of life that may interest you. It is not sufficient to distinguish you in a crowd of many. If you haven’t guessed, the training that makes you a master will have to be made up or invented by you. It is the outcomes you seek that will determine the kinds of training you choose. Good luck!   
What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.

[1] http://statisticbrain.com/reading-statistics/

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