The love of any knowledge is critical for your continued interest in learning more about that topic. Learn how to do an exercise to gauge how well you know a topic and how much you love it.
- Now, you probably think all that matters is how much you know on a subject, but it's also critical to understand how much you love knowing that subject. If you look at how much you love what you know, you can make sure you'll want to continue using that information. In fact, most of the ways that organizations help their workers to rate their knowledge on a topic is by proficiency alone. On a scale from novice to master, how good are you on that subject? But what that approach ignores is our motivation. Your incentive for using your knowledge is best driven by your love for using that knowledge.
Suppose you're talking to two people, Letitia and Jose. Both of then know a tremendous amount about accounting. Both are absolutely up-to-date on the most recent advances in their field and their friends always call them around tax time with thorny accounting problems. But there's one difference between them. Letitia loves that she knows so much about her work. She prides herself on being a walking accounting reference and she's always hungry to learn more. But Jose, well, that's a different matter. All of the enjoyment has gone out of his knowledge.
Sure, he can answer pretty much any question, but knowing so much on that topic isn't fun for him anymore. He can go through the motions, but he's not excited about it. Now, we know why Letitia keeps doing what she's doing, but Jose, why is he still working in accounting? There might be a range of motivations, but enjoyment isn't one of them. This dynamic is true in any learning situation at work, in school, in your hobbies, playing a sport, or doing a project with others. A love of any knowledge is critical for your continued interest in learning more about that topic.
Even if you're especially proficient at it, if you don't love it, that's pretty good information for how much you'll want to use it in the future or not. Of course, we're not going to forget proficiency. How much you know about a topic matters tremendously. The problem is that we often don't know just how knowledgeable we are on particular topics. There are some subjects that are quite easily tested for, like programming or basic math knowledge. But there are many areas that are fuzzier, like interpersonal communications or creative processes.
No matter what the knowledge area, though, you should at least be able to rate whether you have a basic understanding of it or if you're pretty knowledgeable. So let's take a look at how you can do that. Pull out the worksheet for this course and turn to worksheet number two, loving what you know. You can rate your knowledges by whether you do or don't love them and whether you just have a basic knowledge or you're pretty knowledgeable on the topic. That makes a two by two grid. The x-axis is how much you love an area of knowledge and the y-axis is how much you know about that topic.
It helps a lot if you've already done the first page, your knowledge inventory. Now look at your list from the first exercise and copy those knowledges onto worksheet number two. Take one knowledge and determine the combination of how well you know it and how much you love it, then place it wherever on the chart feels the most appropriate to you. For example, if you've learned how to be a good people manager and you really love doing it, write it down or put it on a Post-It note in the upper right quadrant. Then take the next subject from the first chart and the next until they're all placed somewhere on that second chart.
It should be pretty easy to determine if you love a topic or not, but proficiency, well, that can sometimes be harder. For now, let's not strain too hard to determine how proficient you are on a particular topic. Give yourself a little more credit than you usually would. Now, for extra credit, show the second chart to one or two people who know you well and ask for their thoughts. Do they feel it's a good reflection of your knowledges? You're only looking for positive feedback, to hear any ideas about what you may have missed in your inventory.
And if you're lucky, they might want to do their own learning inventory for themselves. Now, what I hope this exercise has shown you is that you know a lot more about a range of different topics than you remembered. And for now just ignore that stuff on the left hand side of the worksheet. We're just focusing on what you love. In that bottom right quadrant, there might be several topics that you love but you don't know quite as well as you want. That's useful information when you start thinking about what to focus on in your learning journey.