In the era of free access to information, we observe the paradoxical phenomenon of often feeling more uneducated, ineffective and inadequate than ever. It is quite common that we seek soothing for our feelings in even more information – attending another seminar or training programme, studying another book or article, watching another instructional video – attributing our inability to respond to the practicalities of everyday life to a lack of theory, which is refuted once we realise that after this seminar/ programme/ video nothing substantial has improved in our lives. Below we will examine why this is the case and how we can change it.
Knowledge is Power, or at least we have been taught so, and it is this power that we seek whenever we feel “less than” and small. The occasions for feeling this way in our daily lives are countless, and temporary relief is readily available. “Information lust” is a real phenomenon and is a barrier to solving any problem, shifting our attention from what is really missing – taking action to solve it – to something we already have. For every challenge we face, the information we have available is far more than the information we ultimately retrieve and use. So that which blocks us from acting will have to be sought elsewhere.
At the opposite end of the spectrum of “information lust”, where the gap between theory and practice is bridged, is the construction of meaning from such information (a fact, an idea, a feeling, …) for which the human mind briefly uses the following “ingredients”:
- Essence: It is the answer to the questions “what is this?”, “what are its basic/ fundamental characteristics?”, “what are its constituent parts?” and refers to the objective and temporally consistent expression of the content of information.
- Significance: It answers the question “how does this relate to what I already am/know/do?” and refers to the subjective and situational interpretation we attribute to the content of information.
- Verbal expression: It answers the question “what is this called?” and encodes the information by using the language code, enriching the code itself but also deriving additional meaning from it.
- Associations: They answer the question “what else is this connected to and how?” and determines the place the new information will occupy among others, as well as the quantity and quality of its links to them.
- Variations: They answer the question “what other forms/ versions/ nuances does this have?” and capture the smallest possible differences with which the information in question can be presented without altering its essence; variations and associations help categorise information within our cognitive system.
- Purpose: This is the reason that something exists and is the answer to a series of successive “whys”.
- Cognitive models: They answer the question “how does this work/ how is this applied?” and form the internalised representations of reality with new information embedded; our mental models are the reason why we think and act one way and not another.
In the modern imperatives of lifelong learning, self-improvement, high performance and efficiency, the answer lies not in gathering more information, but in making extensive use of that which we have already acquired. This is a process embedded in every stage of EnDyname’s coaching approach. By constructing respective answers for every seemingly insufficient piece of information we can retrieve from our memory, we start bridging the gap between theory and practice, we discover previously elusive possibilities and options, free our thinking by allowing it the gift of our unique, subjective ingenuity, and make the greatest contribution to our lives and the lives of those around us.