Knowledge acquisition is one thing, but the application of knowledge is an even more important aspect when it comes to maximizing our human abilities. Unfortunately, in too many instances we are delivered great information, but we sit passively with what we learn and instead think “hmmm, that makes sense” without taking any action. In some cases we may have not been ready to take action, in other examples perhaps there was still skepticism about the information we received, and in some instances we may not have had what we needed in order to take action. Still, the big point remains — it’s one thing to learn about things that can improve your wellness and success, but the much bigger step is taking what you learn and applying the information to your life in order for future positive change to occur. Yes, thinking about what needs to be done for self-improvement is important, but if you stop there can you really expect tomorrow to be any better than yesterday?
True learning is an ACTIVE process
When I work with clients, we regularly talk about the latest sport science findings that can help them improve their game. Oftentimes the ideas we discuss are new to the client, including how to use imagery, improve focus, minimize anxiety, and get into the zone while competing. As we develop unique ideas specific to the client’s needs, I generally see great interest and excitement at the prospect of learning new ways for self-improvement. It is at this precise moment that I stop to make a very important point: Sitting here thinking these ideas are great is one thing, but putting these ideas into action has to be the ultimate goal if you really want to improve.
There is an old saying “Ideas are a dime a dozen, people who put ideas into action are priceless.” When I think of the act of learning, and truly maximizing what you have learned, then it only makes sense to evaluate the observable net benefits from the learning. By only thinking about change but not employing the strategies you learned, it’s doubtful you will see much future growth. Again, it is imperative that you take action by actually using what you learn if you are interested in self-improvement. True learning, therefore, is an active process where the steps you employ can be witnessed — not just thought about in your mind as a good potential idea.
OK, so what’s the big point here?
If you hear something and think it could help you, but decide to sit on the idea rather than implement it, then you shouldn’t expect the future to be any different than the past. For example, I recently taught an an athlete how deep breathing could immediately reduce his anxiety, thereby allowing him to play at a high level rather than succumbing to pressure. After a few weeks went by I saw the athlete again, and he confessed that he was still struggling with anxiety. I asked if he had been using deep breathing as we previously discussed, and he admitted that he hadn’t (even though he also said that he thought deep breathing would help). In this example the athlete learned about deep breathing, accepted that it might work, yet didn’t use deep breathing to offset his anxiety. Again, learning about something is nice, but using what you learned is really what counts!
So here’s the big takeaway — if you learn something new that can help you improve, use the information! In fact, if what you have read here in this blog could be of value to someone you know, take the step in sending them this information. Untapped knowledge is simply potential, and can only transition into future success by being used in constructive ways. Yes, this is seemingly simple advice, but it might be so simple that it is overlooked or forgotten rather than used.
If you want to stay back with the competition then disregard what you have read here today. On the other hand, if you are looking for proven, efficient ways to improve your game, then make it a point to apply the knowledge you learn from people and sources you trust. Yes, sometimes in life it really is as easy as that.