Most Training Efforts Fail

Here’s the painful truth: most training will fail. Very little training results in improved performance. There are lots of reasons, but basically learning is HARD.

  1. Knowledge without action is meaningless. The best ideas in the world are absolutely worthless UNTIL the moment they are put into action. A little bit of knowledge, applied consistently has a huge advantage over a lot of knowledge, never applied.
  2. It is almost impossible to learn if you don’t want to learn.
  3. Skill level always lags behind knowledge.
  4. We are never able to do more than we know.
  5. Knowledge precedes skill. We must learn before we can do. However, until we can do, we don’t really know.
  6. It is easier to gain knowledge than skill. Reading a book is easy. Practicing until a skill becomes second nature is hard.
  7. It takes less time to gain knowledge than skill. Reading is quick, practice is slow.
  8. It is more interesting to gain knowledge than skill. New facts and ideas are fun, practicing the same old skill over and over is tedious. At the extreme are the “seminar junkies” who invest amazing time and money into seminars, workshops, etc. Seminar junkies live for the rush of learning, but never get around to putting it into action.
  9. Those who think they know can rarely do. They confuse knowledge with skill or think that their performance is sufficient and don’t bother to try to improve.
  10. Improving skill means changing behavior and creating new habits. This means overcoming a lifetime of inertia and is far, far easier to do if there is support from others.
  11. Developing skill and changing behavior also means operating outside of the comfort zone. This is, well, uncomfortable. It creates an unpleasant, uncertain feeling. Not fun.

As unpleasant as skill development can be, it is paradise compared to the alternative. If we aren’t continually developing our skills by acquiring knowledge and putting it into action, we are doomed to wondering why the world passes us by.

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