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Personal development: The need to implement what we learn December 24, 2017

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Personal Development Potential.
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The eminent historian Arnold Toynbee warns obliquely that, for most of us, it is important to convert the knowledge we are gaining, into action; otherwise we are doomed to be constantly frustrated.

In Toynbee’s case, he found he was becoming frustrated in the world of academia by constantly acquiring more and more knowledge for its own sake. His irritation ended when he realized that by using his knowledge for the writing of history, he could be more creative and productive.

Similarly, in our efforts towards personal growth and self-actualization we tend to acquire a lot of knowledge, theory, and opinions, but if we do not put that knowledge and information into practice, it does us little good.

Toynbee found that when he applied the action of writing to his knowledge of history it enabled him to be more focused and selective about what future knowledge he chose to acquire.

Toynbee wrote, “Instead of going on acquiring knowledge ad infinitum, I had started to do something with the knowledge I already possessed, and this active use of knowledge gave direction, for the future, to my acquisition of knowledge.”(1)

(1) Arnold Toynbee, from his memoir, Experiences. Toynbee is best known for his ten volume work, A Study of History.

— Dennis Mellersh