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Don't be unhappy if your dreams never come true, just be thankful your nightmares don't. ~ Anonymous

Specialized Knowledge

The seat of knowledge is in the head, of wisdom in the heart ~ William Hazlitt & Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them. ~ Albert Einstein

Generally speaking, there are only two basic categories of knowledge currently in existence. The one is general knowledge, and the other is specialized knowledge…

  • General knowledge - no matter how great in quantity and/or comprehensive in variety it may be - is of little use in either obtaining or achieving success (i.e. troubleshooting and solving of problems). The many different faculties at “acclaimed” universities, colleges and schools - put together - practically possess every form of general knowledge presently known to man. However, most of the teachers, lecturers and professors have little or no practical successes, because they specialize in teaching knowledge, but they do not focus - let alone specialize - in the collection, processing, organization, use and practical application of knowledge within a specific context.
  • Specialized knowledge - on the other hand - can be regarded as digested filtered and applied general knowledge. Specialized knowledge, therefore, in essence, is the skill to identify a problem or obstacle (i.e. unproductive event or circumstances), troubleshoot, collecting of data and processing all relevant information; which materialize as the ability to understand problem dynamics within context and the competency to organize, structure, apply and use such knowledge productively to initiate effective solution strategies.

Thus, when you consider to enroll - with the acquiring of specialized knowledge in mind - for additional or supplementary education, schooling, courses or training; please…

  1. FIRST determine the purpose and application for which you want the knowledge you are seeking to obtain,
  2. then SECONDLY decide where this kind of knowledge can be best obtained from,
  3. THIRDLY, identify the most reliable resources for the knowledge that you are seeking; …and
  4. FOURTHLY, establish WHY this particular source of knowledge can be regarded as a reliable resource?

Successful individuals (i.e. productive individuals), in all callings and walks of life, never stop to acquiring, refine and continuously tweak their specialized knowledge as related to their primary purpose in life, career, business or profession. Therefore, specialized knowledge isn't only a way of dealing with data, information and problems on occasion. As a matter of fact, specialized knowledge is a way of life (a habit) and the manner in which an individual characteristically deals with life's many up's and down's on a regular basis.

Those individuals who are not successful (i.e. unproductive individuals), usually make the monumental mistake of believing that the period for acquiring, calibrating and tweaking knowledge ends, e.g. when s/he finished school, college or varsity. The uncomfortable truth is… formal schooling, education and training does little more than to place an individual in the habit of memorizing “a particular set of knowledge” (i.e. curriculum) for “solving” a given set of problems, frequently presented in the format of a test or exam with a fix memorandum (i.e. right/wrong answers to problems).

This present educational and/or training methodology to “educate or train” individuals, worked well during the industrial age of mankind, primarily because “problems” was predictable, nicely packaged and the result ensured. But in modern times, as characterized by rapid technological developments, change and uncertainty… this approach to “educate and train people” merely can be regarded as a starting point to sharpen and acquire specialized knowledge. Unfortunately, the true benefit and authentic advantage of specialized knowledge, namely the ability to troubleshoot efficiently, is - at its very best - only 10% to 15% of any curriculum followed at any school, varsity, institution or place of learning.

Myth

The “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER” MYTH

Knowledge - including specialized knowledge - will not result in any success whatsoever, unless it is structured, organized and intelligently and purposefully directed by means of practical, realistic and definite plansSpecific ACTion steps sourcing from aha-moments. and channeled towards a specific means.Particular objectives and/or goals. The inability to truly grasp and understand this fact has been - and still is - the main source of disappointment and confusion for millions of people, under the impression of and who falsely belief that “knowledge is power”. It really isn't the case! Knowledge - at best - is merely potential power. Knowledge only becomes authentic power when, and if, it is properly organized and “transformed” into definite plans of action and directed or channeled towards achieving a set of objectives and a specific goal.

As knowledge is acquired, it must be organized and put to good use for a definite purpose, by means of SMART plans and SMARTER strategies. Knowledge - in itself - has no real value, except for that which can be gained from its application toward some worthy and meaningful end. This is one of the main reasons why diplomas and degrees are not really valued, except in the case of a political-bureaucratic driven society. As a matter of fact… certificates, diplomas and degrees represent nothing more than miscellaneous memorized general knowledge, which is confined to a specific area of knowledge/information or topic.

Thus… having knowledge ain't power, applying knowledge is power!

Shortcomings

The “missing link” in all major systems of education and training available in modern societies today, may be found in the failure of educational and training institutions to teach their learners how to…

  1. collect information, judge the reliability of sources and determine its validity for a particular context.
  2. process, digest and assimilate knowledge applying different techniques, such as - for example - critical questioning and/or “mind-maps”.
  3. organize, apply and use knowledge after obtaining and mastering it to obtain objectives and ultimately to achieve a goal.

Implication

Today many people incorrectly assume that formal schooling and training equals education. Therefore - collectively speaking - individuals that has little “schooling”, aren't regarded as a person of “education”. Those individuals under this illusion, don't know, nor do they understand the real meaning of the word “educate”.

That word educate is derived from the Latin word “educo”, meaning to educe, to draw out, to DEVELOP FROM WITHIN. Thus, an educated individual is not necessarily, one who has an impressive abundance of certificates, degrees and/or diplomas; but an educated person is one who has developed the faculties of his/her mind to such an extent that s/he could achieve anything s/he strives for, or its equivalent, without violating the rights and needs of others (i.e. achieving and obtaining personal responsibility within the parameters of group accountability).

In essence…

…a person of EDUCATION is any individual who knows where to obtain knowledge - when s/he needs it - and how to organize that knowledge into definite plans of action and strategies.

Before you can be sure of your ability to transform personal DESIRE into its success equivalent, you must acquire SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE of the service, merchandise and/or profession which you intend to offer in return for achieving success. You have to establish a niche (regarded in the AltanaESP context as your legacy or reputation) and… become extremely good at it which will allow you to ACT SMARTly and establish SMARTER habits. Just bear in mind that perhaps you might need and require much more specialized knowledge than you have the time, ability or inclination to acquire. When this is the case, you could bridge this gap by surrounding yourself with a “specialized knowledge-team” or teams, depending on what is required within a particular context.

Achieving great success in life calls for POWER, and this power can only be acquired through self-disciplined actions which are accompanied by reliable, highly organized and intelligently directed specialized knowledge. However, such knowledge does not - necessarily - have to be in the possession of the person who obtains success… a successful individual just have to understand, know where and how to get hold of knowledge when s/he requires it.

Hopefully this point of view will encourage the self-determined individual with the ambition to actually achieve success in life - which shouldn't be confused with making lots and lots of money - and who has not yet acquire the necessary background schooling, to devotedly and purposefully continue on his/her chosen career and/or professional path to success. Often people go through life suffering from “inferiority complexes”, because - in the eyes of others - they are not regarded as “educated”. But, the person who can organize and direct a “knowledge” team of people, who possess knowledge useful in the obtaining of success, is just as much - if not more - a person of education as any highly academic schooled person.

Guidelines

First of all, choose and decide on the kind of specialized knowledge that you desire, and the purpose for which it is needed. To a large extent your dreams, core purpose in life and the goal toward which you are working, will help determine what knowledge you need. With this question answered, your next move is to collect, process, digest and assimilate such knowledge. The more prominent knowledge sources that you might use to a greater or lesser extent, can be listed as follows…

  • one’s own experience and the many lessons learned from past successes achieved and “mistakes” made.
  • gaining of experiences and education accessible through the cooperation with others (i.e. specialized knowledge team alliances and professional networking).
  • through the sharing of knowledge, information and experiences with others.
  • Schools, Technikons, Colleges and Universities.
  • Public Libraries and the Internet (i.e. Google it).
  • Skills training courses, workshops and team building exercises.

Most sought after

Technological advancements and developments these past few decades resulted in significant changes in the workplace that requires a different “breed/kind” of worker. This employee, that is particularly sought after by employers, is an individual who has specialized in a specific occupational area (i.e. a career path of development and growth), distinguish him-/herself as a leader and become involved in various other activities. An individual who has been active in school or on the campus, whose personality and attitude is as such that s/he gets along with all kinds of people and who has done an adequate job with his/her studies, has a noticeable advantage over well performing and strictly academic student.

These individuals, because of their all-around qualifications, are received favorably in the workplace, because many employers is gradually departing from the idea that “straight A” students are invariably the better choice for jobs. Employers not only consider academic records and work experience, but also the activity records, personalities and attitude of the person. Thus, employers are interested primarily in finding persons who show exceptional progress in…

  • managing their own time, efforts and tasks independently.
  • setting priorities, objectives, goals and ACT on it!
  • collecting and processing information and applying it when “trouble shooting a problem” and/or taking decisions.
  • willingness to accept the responsibility for contributing, cooperating and co-creating with others in a team/group context.
  • higher levels of awareness (i.e. insightful) regarding micro and macro workplace environments.
  • being caring, committed, creative, honest, innovative, informed and supportive in the manner s/he operates.
  • improvising, incisive, independent and taking initiative when addressing issues.
  • the willingness to lead strategically in his/her area of expertise.
Illustrating the 'target area' of Specialized Knowledge and synchronicity between generalist-specialist & independent-team player.

Therefore, employers emphasize qualities of character, common sense, personality, temperament and working style far more than a specific educational background and/or work experiences. In essence…

DECISION, PROMPTNESS, ACTION and THE HABIT OF FINISHING THAT WHICH ONE BEGINS (i.e. a productive PVC inclination) combined with a keen attitude to look for ways to improve the situation or circumstances and actively seek to anticipate needs, requirements and opportunities, “wrapped” in a willingness to actually meet them.

The individual who stops learning merely because s/he has finished school, college or university is forever hopelessly doomed to mediocrity, no matter what his/her job might be. The way of future success, is the way of the “continuous pursuit of knowledge” in a focused and self-disciplined manner.

Completing the puzzle

Specialized Knowledge combined with a healthy troubleshooting attitude, normally give rise to… plenty of initiative; lots of perseverance; a great deal of retention; a delight with challenges and an eagerness to explore & apply various problem solving strategies.

For an example of specialized knowledge in action, please read the 'makeuseof-article' about an interview held with Rafael Grassetti by Erez Zukerman. And for more information regarding “our brain specialization”, watch the following TED-talk by Nancy Kanwisher (A neural portrait of the human mind) on recent discoveries in neuroscience regarding brain specializations…

To bind everything - about the dynamics of specialized knowledge - together and place it in a broader perspective and context as related to a present and future career path, the following TED-talk, delivered by Eric Berridge, provide a sufficient explanation and background as to the why, purpose, meaning and role of specialized knowledge when deciding on, preparing for and/or excelling in one's career of choice

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