2014: Knowing vs Doing

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This year I learned that there is a very big difference, bigger than most people think, between knowing and doing. Oftentimes we think the best comes from the people with the most knowledge. Well, technically speaking, those with the most knowledge would produce the best result if they put that knowledge to work. But in reality, the gap between knowing and doing is much wider as knowledge is never complete without some practical actions; without doing. You can't know how to drive without doing some driving. You can't even know how to write without writing. You can't read your way into becoming a good swimmer. Then there's always this David and Goliath effect, when the best comes from the least expected. So doing matters a lot more than knowing.

Personally, I learned that my knowledge of Excel doesn't matter as much as my confidence to take up Excel projects. I shouldn't try to know everything before putting myself out there as an Excel expert. Also, I can only become perfect by taking up all sorts of Excel jobs and not by limiting myself to the ones I'm 100% sure I can do.

This year I began doing more of the things I am not an expert at. Things I would never had considered doing while I was working for a standard organization. While I was working for Nokia Siemens Networks, a multi-billion dollar corporation operating in over 150 countries and, then, second largest in its industry, I blogged very sparingly. I was very concerned about what a google search of my name would turn up. Then when I was being recruited by Comviva (one of the biggest in its industry with operations in over 90 countries), and there was a prolonged silence after the final interview, I thought someone in the HR had googled me and wasn't happy with what she saw. But as I became less concerned about the rigid corporate world and wanted to be on my own, I began to express myself more freely online. I started doing more both online and offline. And my doing peaked this year after I quit my job to start my own company. Surviving has been more dependent on what I can do and not what I know. I built a robust school examinations result computation software in Access, and it was my first Access program. I wouldn't have agreed to do it if I had a day job. I became a technical partner for a new telecoms company, working on technical and financial proposals, and going for presentations. Another thing I would not attempt if I had a day job. I write about anything that interests me without the fear of stunting my career growth. In the field I'm playing, only one's skill and project portfolio matter.

The more I do, the more the gap I found between knowing and doing. Most businesses were started by people who knew not so much about the field they were venturing into. Like an accountant starting a telecoms company or an engineer starting a bank. If you want results you just have to do and sometimes ignore knowing. Learn by doing. 


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