Clear Explanations Needed: Clarity in a World of Specialization
Knowledge grows more specialized every day. As each profession presses forward with a deeper understanding of the nature of its craft, the more difficult it is to explain the details to a layperson. Think about it for a moment.
- Build an engine?
- Map out a DNA sequence?
- Fly a jumbo airliner?
I certainly can't. I don't even know what tools or resources are required to make those tasks happen.
Even if you feel that your profession or art isn't known for being a specialized field, there are likely procedures and processes in place that work better than if you had no guidance whatsoever. Maybe you created those processes, or maybe someone gave them to you. The point is, you have an advantage over someone who's never tried to complete that process.
Yes, there is always room to learn. Someone else (somewhere in the world) is probably better at that task than you, but you still have knowledge and skills that others don't. You have unique value because of your history, your experiences, and your knowledge.
Explain It to Me
In the past, tradesmen learned a skill set, and they honed those talents (or merely got by, whatever the case might have been) for their entire adulthood. Today's workers are nothing like that. We'll work in several industries in several different positions by the time we've finished our careers.
And even if we stay in one company and one job, the tools around that job are transforming at a crazy rate. The tradesmen of the past would have been left scratching their heads while the next wave came through.
One of the most essential traits in successful people today is the ability to adapt. Learning quickly would also be another coveted skill. When even the "stable" industries evolve at a do-or-die pace, everyone has to get in on this mindset.
Seth Godin was one of the first people I ever heard say that the idea of simply keeping your head down and just doing your job is now the dangerous path. It's the risk-takers who are more likely to have the most security. I know, it's ironic. Risk for security, but "stable" is becoming an outdated notion. Things don't stay static anymore.
So, if change is all around us, it's the teachers that can help others bridge the gaps. The teachers will be the ones to help us all stay relevant in a fast-paced world.
Explain It Simply
Can you help someone? Can you explain clearly to someone so that they can learn and grow?
The funny thing about explanations is that you really have to understand your subject matter if you want to make any sense at all.
I love Einstein's quote: "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Think about how much explaining THAT guy had to do. How many times did he have to figure out a way of simplifying concepts to the point where "average" people could keep up with him?
You and I have that same challenge. Just because we assume that an idea is basic, that doesn't mean that everyone else already knows what it means. Whatever our fields of knowledge might include, the only way we can share those ideas is by deeply understanding.
So, what are you ready to teach? What can you share with the world?