This post was most recently updated on August 13th, 2023
[A collaboration post with Day Translations – all thoughts are my own.]
“The greatest gap in the world is the gap between knowing and doing.” – John Maxwell.
Turning knowledge into action
We read books, listen to podcasts, learn from videos, participate in seminars, and keep up with the latest information to gain knowledge and increase our understanding of a certain topic. But that’s the easy part. Why? We live in an age where we can even get knowledge at our fingertips.
Turning all this knowledge into action challenges many people. Knowledge only gains its power once it’s implemented, and the only way you’ll be able to turn your business around is to start taking action now. Whether it’s about recruiting new skills, saving more money, or implementing a new method of working, too many businesses and individuals are caught in the gap between knowing what they should do and doing what is actually required.
Since practice makes perfect, I’m going to share some proven ways to turn knowledge into action and gain the real-life experience that counts.
Write down what resonates with you
There is a reason why you write so many notes in school or college: it provides an easy way of reference when we need to revise them or helps us remember what we’ve learned. So the next time you are reading a blog post, watching YouTube, or listening to a podcast, keep a notebook beside you and write down any ideas or information you want to implement or remember.
For example, early this year, I watched a YouTube video about budget planning. I wrote down the information or tips on how to start budgeting so I could save more this year. This is something that I truly want to take seriously.
Create a daily routine
We are told that we should spend hours studying in order to get the best results. We might be able to do that if we were not working or doing other things. But most of us have more than two jobs or other responsibilities that can’t be put on hold.
Creating a daily routine will surely help you turn the knowledge into action. You can give your time and knowledge to the world and make a difference. Skills that you have learned can be applied to your work by experimenting with new methods.
The important thing is that you don’t need to study for hours in order to learn something new. It’s much more effective if you break up your learning into smaller chunks of time over the course of days or weeks.
Instead of spending three hours every day learning as much as possible, consider doing 30 minutes one day and an hour another day or week. You will actually learn and retain more. You need to enjoy the learning process, not be forced to do it. Being happy while learning is also the key to turning knowledge into action.
Incorporate your knowledge
Implement an idea or concept you’ve learned in your daily life. Put something new into practice at work. Share your knowledge by spreading the word to others, and tell someone else who will benefit. When you start sharing what you have learned, you naturally increase your level of understanding of the topic and also build confidence about what you’ve learned.
For example, as someone who speaks bilingual especially English, I share my knowledge with my friends and family. Not only about the meaning of language itself but also the culture and mindset of people around the world. Hopefully, there will be many people who have an open mind and don’t easily judge a difference between individuals—an example of turning knowledge into action.
Trial and error
The next step is to progress with a plan of action in mind. This process of trial and error can be expensive if you’re not careful, both financially and time-wise.
For instance, I started offering my translation service in my third year of college. At first, I worked with my three other friends, but because of each other’s busy lives, I’m the only one who has continued to do it until now. I continue to hone my translation skills by frequently reading English books and watching TV shows, movies, cartoons, and anything with English subtitles.
When I was still working in the office, I was also an English-to-Indonesian interpreter for my Russian manager, who only spoke English. I also routinely take the TOEFL test every year to measure the extent of my abilities, especially in writing and listening.
I go through a process of doing, testing, measuring, and tweaking. You should never be scared of failure because it’s just as much a part of the learning process as your successes. The experience of others is a starting point; it’s an insight that can be used to build. It might provide information that you hadn’t considered for yourself, and you can take things forward from there.
Try to accept that, due to the variables that are completely out of your control, sometimes things don’t work out exactly as you want. However, when you look at your past actions based on your knowledge, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how successful you’ve been.
Pat yourself on the back, recognize your past accomplishments, celebrate any small victories, and have faith in your ability to turn knowledge into action.
The real challenge for us is to make others know and do the same thing. Only when we do that will we create a culture of action for ourselves. As we enter the beginning of the year, I would encourage you to consider what you can do to make 2023 the greatest year yet.