Maurice Gibbons (c) 2008 Personal Power Press International
Knowledge is power.
If I am looking for a job but don’t know what jobs are available, or what the jobs are about, chances are I’m going to make a bad decision. If I know about many jobs and what they involve, chances are that I’m going to make a much better decision. Having knowledge makes the difference, and it will make that difference with all of your decisions in SDL and in life. Be informed! Be intelligent.
You will soon be making important decisions
Soon you will be deciding what projects to pursue, and once you are in action you will be making decision after decision about your work. The more informed you are the more successful your choices will be, and the more successful you will be at your work. This is not knowing for its own sake; it is knowing so that you can take informed action.
What is the best way to develop knowledge power?
There are two main ways. The first is to search for the knowledge you need. The second is to create your own knowledge. You are going to begin doing “search” right here. We’ll do “creating knowledge” in the next activity.
Be curious and search for information and ideas.
Intelligent people are curious; they ask questions and want to know the answers. Finding the answers helps them to understand. Everything they understand becomes part of the knowledge they can use whenever they need it. Intelligent thought and action is based on accurate information and ideas.
How can I find those answers?
Intelligent people have many ways to find the answers they need, and they use them all the time. You can learn several of those ways here and then add to your repertoire whenever you can.
The key way is to have what every intelligent person has, a knowledge network. The main features of my network are a journal, books, the Internet, and people.
» I buy books, borrow them from the library, or download them. These are books that interest me, or books on my fields of interest, such as, education and sculpture.
» The Internet is a wonderful resource offering answers to almost any question and information on almost any field. There is, however, both good stuff and unreliable stuff on it.
» I also keep informed through contacts with other people, people in education and sculpture, and people who are curious and informed. Some people I contact face-to-face and others I contact on my computer through email or Skype. I have just added a camera—for $35.00, not expensive—so we can see each other when we talk, share files, and more. I can talk to people around the world for pennies—and so can you.
» My journal is the tool I use for gathering information that interests me or serves my purposes. I record the title information and add notes on the key ideas that I find from any of the sources that I use. The index at the front of my journal helps me to find anything that I need when I need it.
There are other ways to know, such as from direct experience—by observing, taking action, experimenting, and creating. Another whole realm is your inner wisdom—knowledge you know you have and knowledge you have but haven’t yet discovered.
Maurice Gibbons (c) 2009 Personal Power Press International
There are many ways to access knowledge.
My basic ways are through books, the Internet and contacts with others, but there are many more ways and some of them may suit you better. Here is a longer list:
» newspapers, magazines, and journals (from a newstand or on the Internet)
» television, movies, and videos
» conversations, lectures, and courses
» direct experience, sensory response
» observation, research, and experiment
» action, changing course and reflection
» analysis, logic, and reasoning
» intuition, insight, imagination, and creativity
» figuring things out, solving problems, and generating alternatives
» writing, drawing, filming, acting, and building
» on the job improvement, working in a team, or traveling to new places for new purposes.
And there are more. Find the ones that suit you best and use them, but also build your repertoire to make it as rich as possible.
Outline Your Knowledge Network
Name three to five methods you use to gather information and ideas. If you don’t have such methods now, choose three that you think will work for you. Name them and state briefly how they work.
Read to find key ideas and then get them down in your journal.
It’s one thing to find important ideas, and another to remember them. For centuries young people learned by keeping a commonplace book in which they recorded important passages from what they read. It is still an important way to learn
When you read, search for important passages, passages in which the author expresses the main ideas of the book. Write them out in your journal, or write the idea in your own words. Start with at least three passages from different sources.
Choose ideas that are important to you.
No matter where an idea comes from, if you think it is important, get it down as accurately as you can. Just begin, and count on practice to help you to improve. Trust yourself; as ideas collect, your idea about which ones are important will change and grow. That’s the exciting thing about this process; once you get going, you can see your own progress.
Fill the deep well.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge read everything he could about the ideas that were developing in his time in order to “fill the deep well of meaning” from which he would draw in his work. The deeper and richer the well, the deeper and richer the thoughts and ideas he could develop. Fill your mind, your own deep well.
Know something about everything and everything about something.
Schooling emphasizes knowing something about everything, the exact same something for everyone. In SDL, what you decide to know about the world will be uniquely yours, and the field you choose to know thoroughly may be like no one else’s. The key idea here is that it is important to be informed in a general way; but it is essential to be an expert in a field that you choose. Discover a field and be passionate about becoming as knowledgeable and skilled in it as you can. This is the real secret about how to live well, and it is a subject we will develop further: go out far and in deep.
You really do need a computer, and you can benefit from it even at the most basic level of use.
The computer is as important as the journal in self-direction. It offers too many benefits to ignore any longer if you don’t have one. If necessary, buy a used one or find a restaurant, library or other resource that has a computer for the public and offers access to the Internet. Find out how to write on a blank page and save it, and find out how to search for information on the Internet, if you don’t already know. And then go as far as you can in using the computer to help you be intelligent.
Add your thinking to the ideas you select.
Ideas are dormant until we use them or interact with them by saying what we think. After you record an idea that you have found, think about it and respond to it. Get down the ideas that you find and then add what you think about the idea, its value and use.
If you have done the activities cited above, you are already thinking and acting more intelligently.
If you are curious, ask questions, search for answers, and record them with your own thoughts attached, you will immediately begin to think and act more intelligently, and you will open the door to even greater progress in the future. Keep adding new ways to be informed and to use the information you have. Note that using what you know helps you to retain it. Use ideas in conversation. Be intelligent.
Having a road map of what lies ahead in this program—it’s called an ”advance organizer”—helps you prepare for it and helps you master it when you get there. We have just done Be Intelligent. Next we are turning to the other half of Information and Ideas, “Be Creative (Activity #9).” This will complete the first section of our productivity process and we will turn to taking action.
After Information and Ideas we will pause to review. This will be a test for you to see how much you are picking up from doing these activities and to reconsider how you are approaching them (Activity #10, How Are You Doing?).
And that leads us to an activity on dealing with the major problem most of us face in doing what we want to do—our own resistance to it (Activity #11. Fight Your Resistance).
We are working now. If you did this section, you had to work hard. The reward is that you have moved forward, likely forward so much that you will never go back. You may already be on a new course. That is the exciting thing: you are on a new course going where you want to go. You are powering up. And we are just getting under way.
Faking it. [That wasn’t the really final note]
The idea here is not just to go through these activities, but to make them a part of your regular life activity. If that’s easy for you, great. If it isn’t, fake it. Act like doing this work is normal for you until it is a comfortable part of the way you are in the world. When you go through the motions, it’s like trying on new clothes. You have to get used to them. Get used to thinking, speaking and acting intelligently.