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The other day a colleague of mine, Simon Scullion, posted a blog Balancing the use of our time which was built upon a quote from a post by Julien Smith, How to Change Your Life: An Epic, 5,000-Word Guide to Getting What You Want

the way your time should be spent is largely like a pyramid, with a wide base of learning, with a smaller level of acting on top of it, which is directed by the learning, and then on top of that, an even smaller level of writing about it. If you begin to live your life differently than the pyramid should be built, it becomes unbalanced and topples over

Simon re-interpreted the words “acting” and “writing” as “doing” and “sharing” and produced the image below:

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While I agree with their premise, the image that came to my mind was more of a cycle, where learning enables doing, doing enables sharing and sharing enables more learning.

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At first it may seem counter intuitive – how does my sharing enable more learning?

It has been my experience that when I share my thoughts I have learned a great deal from the comments and feedback that follow. In some cases I have been challenged to explain my ideas more clearly or completely. In other cases I have had to respond to holes or inconsistencies in my argument. While I may not always agree with the comments, sharing my thoughts certainly has stimulated me to learn more. Sharing can be the driver of a virtuous cycle.

In their recent book Race Against The Machine; How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy, authors Brynjolfsson and McAfee describe the accelerating rate of technology innovation and how it relates to the demand for labor. 

The New York Times have an excellent graphic that shows how the rate that technologies spread in our society has accelerated over the course of the last one hundred plus years.

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One of the implications of this phenomenon is that the shelf-life of the body of knowledge for a particular technology is growing ever shorter. As a result what you have learned in the past becomes increasingly less relevant.

So, if I build upon Julien and Simon’s thinking and the observations made by Brynjolfsson and McAfee and the New York Times, then I conclude that we need to change the balance of our time spent learning, doing and sharing in favor of sharing and learning. We must leverage increased sharing to accelerate our learning and enable us to continue to perform the work and deliver the services that are in demand.

Is your organization encouraging you to share more? Are you changing the balance of your time spent doing, learning and sharing?

Please share your thoughts, I want to learn more!

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