One way to learn is by making mistakes.
Another way is to learn from others.
In Software Architect Bootcamp, Raphael Malveau and Thomas J. Mowbray, Ph.D. write about two skills you need to learn from other people.
Two Skills to Learn from Other People
Learn how to read between the lines and how to take advice.
“There is another way to learn (rather than making mistakes), and that is by learning from other people. To do that effectively, two skills that most people lack are required: how to read between the lines and how to take advice. “
Read Between the Lines
What’s not said can be more important than what was said. Similarly who said it, and why they are saying it, may say a lot.
“The phrase ‘reading between the lines’ is only a figure of speech.
People do not literally read anything between lines of text. Rather, they analyze what the author is saying at a level of detail somewhat beyond the surface discussion. This requires the use of knowledge, experience, and imagination.
If you don’t learn how to benefit from the advice of others, you waste a lot of time and energy.
“It is also true that very few people readily accept the advice of others. Everyone should try harder to accomplish these basic techniques more effectively. While this advice is relatively simple, few people regularly utilize these basic skills in much depth; therefore, they waste a great deal of time and energy by not benefiting from the knowledge of others.”
Know What to Accept or Reject
Decide what to use and what to throw away. Through practice, this becomes second nature.
“These are impressions that one should be able to pick up naturally while reading. The ability to read between the lines gives people the ability to discriminate and consciously decide what they did will add to their knowledge and what they will reject. Every piece has some good and some bad information. To win the psychological war, one needs to know the difference instinctively.”
Key Take Aways
I think there’s a few complimentary concepts along these lines:
- Know what you want to accomplish. If you don’t have a purpose, you’ll be randomized by information overload.
- Build trusted sources of information. Find the people, sites, blogs, and authors that you can rely on.
- Measure against what works. Measure against what works, how actionable the information is, and how you improve your effectiveness.
- Continuously collect reference examples to draw from. There’s stories of successful people in just about any situation you end up in. Find those stories and find the patterns of what works and model from the success.
- Turn insights into action. Chunk what you learn down into the simplest thing you could do to improve results. Always start with something simple. Simple builds momentum. Part of why I do this blog, is it’s a simple way to act on what I learn. Posts are a right-sized way to share nuggets of insight.