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Knowledge or Skill: Is One Better?

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How often do you begin a task that you think you know how to complete, but find you don’t have the necessary tools to finish? Could it be that your knowledge and skill levels differ?

Knowledge and skill are very different. If you have a recipe for Chicken Marsala but have little cooking skill, your dish will be lacking. If you are put in a kitchen and possess good cooking skills, you probably would struggle making a new dish without a recipe. A recipe provides the proven formula for success. For a great dish you need both knowledge and skill.

Last week I wrote about my first experience of being an official mentor. I was not prepared, and I did not know I was not prepared until things went badly. I lacked both knowledge and skill. It made me reflect on how it is important to consider both when you want to learn something new. Sometimes I lean more towards gaining knowledge and at other times more towards building skill. It also depends on what I am learning. I am determined to be more focused on how I do both. It will accelerate the learning process.

People that don’t know how to cook, do not spend time looking at recipes. Good cooks like to look at recipes and occasionally learn a new dish. A chef will spend time experimenting and developing something new, but they still get ideas from other recipes. I think this is a good analogy to think about. If we are learning a new process, a new language, a new system, or a new hobby, we should ask, “How are we gaining both knowledge and skill?” And if there is one thing that AccelaWork stands behind, it is continuous learning. There is always some new information or process out there that could drastically change your life. How can you hone your skills? Jack Klemeyer talked about how to become involved in continuous learning and how that will help you on your road to success. Check out the 4 steps he swears by below!

continuous learning

© Flickr user ZapTheDingbat

  • Read about your skill (or your field) for at least one hour a day, every day. Get up earlier than normal if you need to fit in the time to read.
  • Take courses on your skill. Attend seminars and workshops. Sit upfront and take notes.
  • Purchase educational audio programs on your skill. Listen to them in your car. Did you know that the average driver is in their car 500 to 1,000 hours a year? That’s a lot of time you can put to good use by turning your drive time into learning time.
  • Put your skill into practice. The more you use your skill, the better you will become at it.

Using these tips will not only help you hone your skills but increase your knowledge, too! It’s been proven time and time again that reading can help slow cognitive issues which will keep your brain at high performance levels. Many studies, including this one about being actively engaged in hobbies and reading books, have shown that exercising your brain through books and puzzles can actually help you avoid dementia at later stages in life. If you keep reading and keep learning, you are giving your brain a work out that it wouldn’t get any other way. Even if you take one hour per day to learn something new or challenge yourself mentally, the outcome can be a huge plus for your future self. We all have the time to become a bit more productive and be able to proudly say not only do you have the knowledge but also the skills to match!

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Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown is an executive coach who is passionate about personal development. He works to make a difference in people's lives by empowering them with skills and knowledge that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in. Mark has been coached, mentored, and certified by John Maxwell and his team. This coaching certification allows Mark to successfully coach and train individuals, groups, organizations, and companies.
Mark S. Brown


Executive and Business Coach at New Roads Leadership. A founding partner of the John Maxwell Team. We coach for your personal success!
Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown

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