"It is necessary to combine
knowledge born from study with
sincere practice in our daily lives.
These two must go together.”
“That’s not a very positive thing to say!” and “It doesn’t really seem like you’re living in the present right now…” These are the types of comments I get from close friends and family members these days. I suppose these words are what I deserve for writing a blog about living positively in the present moment and not always practicing what I preach. As I’m sure you know, it’s so much easier to read books and blogs and articles about positivity and happiness than it is to actually practice positive thinking all of the time. It’s so much easier read than done…
But without all of the reading, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the latest information and I wouldn’t even consider practicing most things because I wouldn’t be aware of them. I might have an idea, some great thoughts of my own, but I wouldn’t have nearly as much insight as I have because I have read and researched and learned about new ways to be positive.
As the quote above says, you need both the knowledge and the action. You need to learn and you need to do. This -- as I know from experience -- isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s flat out hard. You can read about almost anything, but it’s a great deal more difficult to actually put that information into action. I often find myself wondering how I can balance all of the great information I learn with actually doing the things I’m learning about. After reading the Dalai Lama’s quote on Twitter, I started giving this topic some more thought and here are some ideas I came up with for incorporating knowledge into our daily lives…
- Tell someone else what you learned. When you spread the word about what you’ve learned, you’re not only introducing others to a new topic, but you’re also reminding yourself of what you’ve learned. Every time you repeat it, you’re ingraining the idea more and more into your mind. The more you tell others, the more likely you’ll be to remember it. The more you remember it, the greater the chance that you’ll put the ideas into action.
- Take notes on what you’re learning. Just like you used to (or still) do in school, taking notes on what you read is a great way to commit ideas to memory and to gain a better understanding of them. After you learn something, write it down somewhere. Make a list of what you want to do, add the action you want to take to your To Do list, or schedule time on your calendar to focus on your new course of action. Putting it in writing will make it more concrete and make it more likely that you’ll actually follow through.
- Incorporate ideas into your routine. If you want to practice something or explore new knowledge in an action-oriented way, find a way to incorporate it into your daily (or, at the very least, weekly) routine. Take action first thing in the morning if you can to make sure that you don’t end up putting it off later in the day. If you need a little motivation, ask a friend or partner to take action with you. If you make your action part of your routine, you’ll be a lot more likely to stick with it. As I mentioned in #2, putting the action you want to take on your calendar can really help you to actually follow through with it.
- Post reminders of ideas everywhere. Whoever invented the sticky note was a genius. You can write anything you want on those little pieces of paper and put them anywhere! Write a phrase (or a few phrases) that will remind you to take action and post it everywhere. Post it in your car, on your mirror, in your office, on your fridge—anywhere you’ll be likely to look and be reminded of the action you want to take.
- Keep learning about the topic. The more you learn about a subject, the more space it takes up in your mind. (I’m not sure if this is a fact, but it seems to be that way in my experience.) The more space something takes up in your mind, the harder it is to forget about it. Therefore, it’s best to keep learning more about what you want to be knowledgeable about. The more you learn, the more you’ll think, and the more likely you’ll put these thoughts into action.
When I first read the quote on Twitter, it really spoke to me because I know how hard it can be to put words and ideas into action. I spend a great deal of time learning, but not nearly enough time practicing what I’ve learned (and what I preach about on my site). The quote inspired me to give this topic some thought and I truly thinking the tips I’ve come up with will help me put the inspiring ideas I come across into action because, as the Dalai Lama said, these two must go together.
How do you take what you've learned
and put that knowledge into action?