If you want to make change happen – whether it’s within an organization, your local community, or society at large – a solid base of education provides the springboard to help you make your mark. Education gives you more opportunities to realize your full potential, both personally and professionally, and to contribute to the world around you.
Anyone who has attended a university lecture can attest to the heavy emphasis our educational institutions place on the learning domain of the head – what’s called cognitive learning. This has its benefits. Cognitive learning lets you expand your knowledge base and enhance your critical thinking skills. In a nutshell, it helps you build book smarts.
However, book smarts alone don’t create change in the world. You also need to acquire all the skills necessary to convert your knowledge into practical accomplishments. This is the second domain of learning: the hand.
This domain includes all the hands-on skills and competencies needed to practice a discipline in the real world. Just as a musician needs to be proficient with her instrument, so does a carpenter, lawyer or accountant with the tools of their trades. Even an academic needs to have competent communication skills to effectively share his ideas with the world.
In light of this, I decided to take a creative writing workshop last month in order to hone my skills with the pen. The half-day workshop was led by Vancouver-based writer, Regan d’Andrade. Joined by eight other budding writers, Regan led us through a series of hands-on exercises to practice creative writing. In each exercise, we were given a fixed amount of time to write freely on a single theme. In one exercise, for instance, we had 20 minutes to write our life story. The time pressure was intense, but even more nerve-racking was reading my work aloud to the group at the end of these exercises. There’s a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that goes: “do one thing every day that scares you.” Check.
Still, I learned some good techniques for tapping into my inner creative voice, and for overcoming the tendency to self-critique and edit my work in the early creative phase of writing. Useful skills for anyone who wants to share his ideas with the world.