A bag of chips

I love the idea of lifelong learning. The Department of Education and Science defines it as the ‘ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons’: technically, I agree with that but it’s a bit lifeless. To me, lifelong learning is a way to satisfy my curiosity, pique my interest and expand my horizons.

I spent a day this week with twelve creative colleagues. We worked on projects from different areas of the business, on topics of which we had very little prior knowledge, and with people with whom we don’t work usually. Each one of them brought a different perspective and approach to the task. We got to know each other better, scratched our heads a bit over some aspects of our tasks and presented our ideas: in short, we learnt from each other.

The learning wasn’t just about the subject matter itself: it was about how we can understand each other’s points of view; how to run a group; how to convey ideas; how to get to know one another; how to chair a meeting; how to draw your audience in with a creative idea or humour; how to look confident when you don’t feel it; how to present; even how to be a role model. That’s a lot of learning in one day!

(If our day sounds very dry and serious, be assured it wasn’t. There was a lot of laughter and a lot of chocolate biscuits!)

Most of us don’t have a Eureka moment – Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the originator of the internet doesn’t believe that Archimedes actually had one – but we collect nuggets of knowledge, skills and experience along the way which add to our learning.

In ‘What now?’, Ann Patchett writes:

‘For the most part wisdom comes in chips rather than blocks. You have to be willing to gather them constantly, and from sources you never imagined to be probable. No one chip gives you the answer for everything. No one chip stays in the same place throughout your entire life. The secret is to keep adding voices, adding ideas, and moving things around as you put together your life. If you’re lucky, putting together your life is a process that will last through every single day you’re alive.’

I don’t collect stamps or spoons or scale models of famous buildings: I prefer to collect the chips of wisdom Patchett mentions. It’s my metaphorical bag of chips!

Today’s pebble for you to ponder:

What chips of wisdom have you acquired this week? How will you make sure you hold on to them? How will you use them?

What do you think?


Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching. 

If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we could work together?

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