Learning Skills or Learning Facts?

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I’ll assert that right now, the most profound weakness of my education, including 4.5 years at Johns Hopkins University, was the focus on facts rather than on skills.

Facts inform and keep us from being ignorant.

Skills are needed to co-create change.

Sure, skills are often grounded in facts.

Facts without any connection to the skill being cultivated or explored end up in the memory dustbin once they are no longer needed.

Sorta like digesting facts, then excreting them after the test is over.

Gotta admit – sometimes I forget to put facts and processes into the framework of a real skill SO THAT…

The “so that” is crucial, isn’t it? It ties us to the talent we’ll have as we apply practices, processes, and adopt empowering frames of reference.

When you consider the real skill of Be Calm and Confident, what would be the SO THAT… what would be the benefit to you?


When my late husband was studying for his Chief Mate’s license with the ferry system, he had to memorize a bunch of questions and answers that were apropos of nothing. The license was called an “Inland Mate” or some such thing, as opposed to someone who wanted to become a licensed deck officer who would sail on the open ocean. So, this test covered all kinds of inland waterways.

The question that killed him on the test - he could miss 5, but this was number 6 - was “What type of lights does a tugboat display, if that tugboat is pushing ahead, (as opposed to towing something behind) and is on the Mississippi River, north of the Huey P. Long Bridge?” (I always wanted to know what happens SOUTH of the Huey P. Long Bridge.)

He, who would be working on Puget Sound on a ferry, had to memorize a Q & A on a completely different type of vessel on a waterway he’d never sail on. As an aside, the Coast Guard accidentally gave him a Chief Mate’s license on the Great Lakes.


I think my SO THAT would be:

When I get an answer I don’t like, I can respond gracefully. (No, I don’t want to date you anymore. Or, I’d really rather not hang out today. Or go to that movie you really want to see. Etc.)

When I have no clue what I’m doing, I can be calm and work my way through it rather than my body responding as if I’m going to be judged and criticized.

That’s a start, hopefully it’s not a non sequitur. :wink:


@gibbysan - that’s a very funny story that highlights the silliness that humans can conjure…lol.

Calm and confident so that:

  • I can feel completely at ease within myself…at home in my being
  • I can move through the world in an open and friendly manner regarding others with respect and compassion

I know there’s more but those two ‘skill sets’ feel like they encompass the essence of everything I am trying to conjure in my life. (apparently ‘conjure’ is the word of the day…I like it)

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