Over the past two days, I have invested 91 minutes watching Simon Sinek’s YouTube video “The Infinite Game: How to Lead in the 21st Century”. In truth, I have spent more than 91 minutes. I have paused the video, replayed parts, taken notes and asked questions.
I have already read the book. Twice. Given I am extremely busy with my clients and raising my five children in challenging times, why would I invest this time?
You cannot develop yourself to any degree of worthiness if you are not prepared to go deep
You, me, we, live in a world that is pushing us toward more and more ‘sound-bites.’ Consider all the apps you have; Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat. All of them encourage you to share your life and to consume information in tiny chunks. This is not a bad thing. These small chunks can give you access to links that literally ‘link’ you to the knowledge you wouldn’t otherwise have. Let me be clear; I am not anti-social-media. As an example, the sharing of this article requires it. I use social media myself.
What is missing for far too many people, is the preparedness to go deep. To read/listen to a book in full. To watch the full video of a speaker (such as Simon Sinek). To spend time asking yourself questions. To take notes and reflect on them afterwards.
As an example, with Covid-19, have you followed a link to a detailed research material by epidemiologists or immunologists and read it in full? Here is an article provided to me by Professor Raina MacIntyre, Head of Biosecurity Research Program at the Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales (UNSW). Items such as this help you to be more informed from a research perspective, rather than simply having an opinion that is based on other people’s opinion, which may or may not be based on any level of science.
You know the metaphor that a house has to be built on solid ground if you want it to be able to withstand a severe storm. Understanding who you are, what you stand for, what your talents are and working out how you can best use all that information to help you to create a life where you do make a difference, takes time and effort.
I have noticed a solid pattern over the past few years. People ask me to recommend resources to them. I provide them with links to resources. Sometime later, we meet again. I ask, “What did you think of that resource?”
“Oh, that. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet”, or they say, “I started watching it, but didn’t get through it” These replies are common.
Yet the same person has plenty of time for Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram (the list goes on) updates, ‘likes’, ‘loves’ and comments. They have watched every episode of Big Brother, The Voice, Farmer Wants a Wife, The Bachelorette (and the list goes on). Please note that I’m not saying any of these are wrong. They aren’t. Not on their own.
But when they get in the way of you going deep and spending some real-time developing yourself, then there is a problem. Especially if you want the reward that comes from improving yourself, and that reward is that you get to be the best you can be for other people. When that happens, life is fantastic.
Use sound-bites and summaries to help you to work out what resources with which you ought to go deep. But, if you only ever go shallow, then don’t be surprised if that is all you ever become. Make a conscious choice to go deep. Not all the time, but at least some of the time.
For those of you who do go deep regularly, the next step is to do your best to put into practice what you have learned. Work on mastery. A bit like an eight dan martial arts expert approaches their formworks; mastery is a never-ending journey of continuous improvement. Conscious, deliberate practice is what it takes. When I did Tae Kwon Do many years ago, I remember Mr Kim used to practice the white-belt kata, even though he was the highest-ranked person in our club. When I asked him why he was doing it, his answer was, “I can always get better.”
How often should I ‘go deep’?
As often as you can, in balance with everything else you have to do in your life. If you create too much pressure about completing books etc., it could be unhealthy. You have to find a balance that works for you. If you are a goal-oriented person, as a start, try aiming for ten times per year. If you can do more, and it works for you, go for it!
What have you ‘gone deep’ with lately? How is your journey toward mastery going?
Gary Ryan helps talented professionals, their teams and organisations, move Beyond Being Good®