ATTITUDE, SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE : A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
Imagine yourself driving a car. Done? Okay, now imagine all the things that you are doing while driving that car. You change gears, you apply the brakes when needed, and you accelerate to go forward, and so on. For someone who drives, this comes naturally and driving a car is a normal activity you do on a daily basis. However, even something as simple as driving a car requires the right ATTITUDE, SKILLS to drive the car and finally the KNOWLEDGE of the vehicle, traffic laws and regulations etc.
This combination of ATTITUDE, SKILL and KNOWLEDGE (ASK) is a RECEIPE FOR SUCCESS.
Unsurprisingly, the same theory applies to our professional lives as well. ASK is the fundamental guiding principles for HR Departments for hiring, transferring or promoting an employee in an organization.
Let’s define each of these elements in the context of being a service professional and learning something new.
noun 1. a settled way of thinking or feeling about something: he was questioned on his attitude to South Africa | being competitive is an attitude of mind. • a position of the body indicating a particular mental state: the boy was standing in an attitude of despair. • Ballet a position in which one leg is lifted behind with the knee bent at right angles and turned out, and the corresponding arm is raised above the head, the other extended to the side. 2. [ mass noun ] informal, chiefly N. Amer. truculent or uncooperative behaviour: I asked the waiter for a clean fork and all I got was attitude. • individuality and self-confidence: she snapped her fingers with attitude. 3. the orientation of an aircraft or spacecraft, relative to the direction of travel.
Author and scientist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, was a child who lived in Hungary during and after the dark years of the Second World War. In his observations he noted that even after the ending of conflicts and somewhat “resembl[ing] a happy life,” many adults were unable to develop an attitude of optimism, let alone the feeling of happiness.
To simplify the concept of attitude lets borrow the third definition of attitude, which relates to aviation and aerospace. As in the aircraft, our attitude describes our “angle of approach” to work and life. For an aircraft the attitude is as essential as velocity (speed in a particular direction) and altitude (height above the surface). If you mess up your angle of approach, then you screw up your landing.
Similarly in life, if our attitude is one of suspicion, fear, or hesitancy, then our experience and execution of tasks will suffer as well and no matter how much knowledge or skills we possess it will still lack an ingredient in our success recipe.
In Short: There is magic and power in paying attention, staying focused, in being fully present, all of which are
noun [ mass noun ]
the ability to do something well; expertise: ‘difficult work, taking great skill’. • [ count noun ] a particular ability: ‘the skills of cookery’. verb [ with obj. ] (usu. as nounskilling) train (a worker) to do a particular task. ‘there is a lack of basic skilling’.
the heart of being mindful and dependent upon which attitude we chose to take.
Of the three elements of learning, skill is not necessarily the easiest to achieve; however it is the simplest to enrich. All it requires is determined action over time.
To the casual observer, any high-end skill (which is more often used inter- changeably with “ability” and moreover confused with “talent”) seems inherent to that person; a quality passed on at birth, like height or eye color.
Hence, the skills for using latest technologies seem aloof, unattainable, un-teachable, and undoable to most senior citizens. They see their grandchildren having an “inherent” skill to use an iPad, whereas they miss out on the time the grandchildren spend on practicing simply the skill of unlocking an iPad.
Neuroscientist Barry Kaufman strongly believes that the whole Right-Brain/ Left-Brain theory is untrue.
During his observation and study of hundreds of artists and performers (that range from virtuosos and child prodigies to middle-of-the-road professionals and enthusiastic hobbyist) Kaufman sees “skill” as requiring practice, and as the saying goes ‘practice makes perfect’—or to be more realistic, practice makes skilled.
He completely denies the occurrence of “pure talent,” noting that all traits, including the ability to intentionally practice, involve a mix of nature and nurture.
In fact, he believes that there is no such thing as innate talent; it’s a myth that is constantly maintained, this is done despite the fact that most psychologists recognize that all skills require practice.
In Short: Skills are always learned; where as talent is dependent upon persistent practice fuelled by commitment and enthusiasm.
noun [ mass noun ] 1. facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject: ‘a thirst for knowledge | her considerable knowledge of antiques’. • the sum of what is known: the transmission of knowledge. • information held on a computer system. • Philosophy true, justified belief; certain understanding, as opposed to opinion. 2. awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation: the ‘programme’ had been developed without his knowledge | ‘he denied all knowledge of the incidents’.
Going back to driving; my father has been driving for more than 35 years now (compared to my healthy 15 years) yet I can’t seem to get beyond the fact that he can tell if the car if not doing what its supposed to do within the first few meters of my driving. His knowledge of cars and motors in general is mind-boggling. So we must note that, as we age, deep knowledge and cognitive processes that take lateral connections, empathy, and historical context continue to improve.
This is seen in most tech companies in the Silicon Valley. Here people in their mid- to late-20s create the technology, but people in their mid- to late-40s build the most successful businesses. Interestingly with most of the best business “long bets” are made by the 50+business group known as Angel Investors. Why is it so? Its their experience which in due time becomes knowledge of how things will pan out in the coming days.
In his new book, Zero to One: Notes on Start-Ups, Or How To Build The Future, Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, notes that many talented musicians die by age 27 (Hendrix, Morrison, Joplin, Cobain, Winehouse) and getting old is a whole another story for sexy musicians (Elvis, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears). However, the Kings of Technology (Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jobs) hit their world-changing stride in their middle age.
In short: Knowledge is a life-long pursuit. It takes time, patience, dedication, interest, maturity, and experience.
“Skills can be acquired. Knowledge is a life-long process.”