Today I want to look at how important practical application & experience is in completing the circle & providing a solid base for personal growth.
This is drawn from my own life experience & my experience in helping others overcome fears & grow in confidence. It is not a definitive list & I’m sure many of you will have your own comments, ideas & experiences to add, but I hope this short blog crystallises thinking & provides a springboard for action.
One of my personal concerns is how today’s culture seems obsessed with academic grades, ideas & theories whilst it misses the critical importance of personal experience & application of those theories. We spend so much time aiming for high grades at school, university, work etc that we lose-sight of why we’re doing it; so that we can take the knowledge we’ve gained & apply it. Good grades assess our ability to provide answers to questions, not necessarily our ability to use or apply the information in practice.
There seem to be many thinkers but far fewer doers.
We all know of the gurus who produce great theories on why or how something happens; they analyse trends, look at behavioural response to stimuli or situations, draw-up ideas, publish papers & books & make a pretty penny in the process. Many of them would say, “That’s business!” My response would be, “Maybe, but it’s bad business if we leave our clients without practical solutions to the issues they face.”
In no way do I decry the importance of theories, but I challenge them head-on if all they are going to do is remain theories on which a few grow fat. Of course theories have their place, but they are impotent to achieve anything until they are applied i.e., put into practice. That is the critical interface where the theory is tested & either found to be true (at least in part) or found wanting & empty.
Theory without practical application is just words on a page.
This is particularly true in the area of building confidence where many books have been written, ideas postulated & theories developed. These have been the backbone of much training & exposition & many have become very wealthy on it. However, as the old saying goes, ‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating!’ In other words, we only discover the practical benefit of these theories when we apply them.
So, as an example, I can talk about how handling a reptile can really build confidence in someone who has a phobia, I can show videos & play recordings of people explaining how they overcame their fears; I can read from books on different people’s experiences BUT until my audience take the step to do the same i.e., put the theory into practice for themselves, we are no further forward at the end of the exercise than at the beginning. HOWEVER, if I take some people who have a phobia of reptiles & gently lead them to the point where they have touched or handled one, it then doesn’t matter what I say or do, that person has the visceral personal experience of moving from “I could never do that!” to “I never thought I could do that!” and that is powerful. It’s where theory becomes practice & where practical, tangible growth in confidence happens, forming a springboard for further development in a wide range of different areas of their personal & business lives.
This is why we love using reptile handling & minibeast encounters (Meet The Beasts) as our catalyst for confidence building. In a survey of greatest fears for Time Business Magazine, the Number 3 fear was a fear of creepy crawlies & snakes (Number 7 was fear of death!) & yet in only a short period of time we see people (of all ages from nursery to advanced in years) move from white-knuckle fear to reduced or no fear.
In my personal work I see many (young & old) move from going pale at the sight or thought of a snake to asking us what would be a good snake to keep as a first pet 🙂
I’m sure that you will have your own thoughts on my comments from your personal experiences which I would love to hear.
I also hope that my thoughts have stimulated some of your own which will lead to greater success in how we can encourage those who come to use for help, whether this is friends coming to us personally or clients through our business activities.
Until next time …