Civilization VI failure

On Sunday I started playing Civilization VI. Today I lost badly and that’s ok because I was learning all the time.

Having played Civ II, IV and V in the past, I was familiar with the fundamental structure of the game. After my first attempt on Sunday afternoon it became clear I needed to go back to basics. I found some good tutorials on YouTube and a play through of a science victory scenario. All made perfect sense, so why today’s thumping?

Civ is a complex game with many related concepts that form part of the gameplay. I missed almost all of them. As I fell behind the A.I. civilisations, I started noting what wasn’t working as expected. That told me which areas I needed to ask about. Asking meant time reading documentation on the points I’d missed and the rest of the game trying what I had learned. For this play through, it was too little, too late. The next will start much stronger.

That’s how learning works. Know what you should do, try it, and when you fail, ask the questions you need answers to. Then try again. Ask more questions, and repeat.

I can take the loss, though I wish the Peter the Great of Russie didn’t denounce me as such a bad ruler time and again.

Expanding my comfort zone

I have never liked the phrase “Step outside your comfort zone”. Why do that uncomfortable or scary thing? An impliction of stepping outside is that I can step back inside whenever I like.

I prefer to engage in Being a Learner and take the steps necessary to expand my comfort zone. Once expanded it is less likely to shrink in the future. And I can choose the direction to expand it in.

I see (and feel) the overwhelm as well

Euan Semple posted today about the digital overwhelm we are facing more and more as online systems become ever more dictated yet poor interface design makes them unusable. If you’re waving at someone to get their attention for assistance, and they continually ignore you, you will submit and put up with the pain.

Lately I’ve been thinking along similar lines as I see more and more technology changes fall upon deaf ears. For example, Microsoft 365 has a large and constantly changing suite of technologies for collaboration but when people are not guided in their use, the benefits can’t possibly be realised. And that is unfortunate.

A symptom of Euan’s digital overwhelm is the deaf ear. People stop listening because it’s all too hard. And just as overwhelmed are those who have been trying to assist them. Why bother trying to help someone who doesn’t want to listen. In that moment we forget we are all people trying to do our best to help each other. Instead it becomes me and them. I’m right and they are lazy/incompetent/ignorant.

It will get better. I have faith in that. It has too… And I’m trying my best to help where I can. If only they would listen to me!

Training and education

Yesterday I was musing on the difference between training and education, wondering why training in the workplace is usually ineffective. This is my stream of consciousness on the question.

Many people consider training and education the same, however they have several distinct differences. Training is the process of learning something with a goal of performing a specific skill or behaviour. Education, on the other hand, is the systemic process of learning something with a goal of acquiring knowledge.

In education, a person learns facts, concepts, and theories. In training, a person learns how to apply those facts, concepts, and theories. (Difference between Training and Eduction)

So, most "training" in business, is not set within an environment of fact, concept, and theory so it is little wonder why training often falls short of what it aims to do.

  • What do we mean by learning?
  • What do we mean by knowledge?

Education and training are processes of learning that result in knowledge which provides a person with the power to choose from a set of actions different from the set they had available to them prior to the learning occuring.

Post-learning, a person will have:

  • an expanded set of distinctions available to them, enhancing how they observe
  • new practical skills

There is no guarantee that what is learnt is a true assertion. It is all too easy to learn from the opinions of others in ways that positively and negatively modify the way we observe the world.

Knowledge is a physical phenomenon. That’s obvious with the attainment of practical skills as these are often based in physical movement. What is not obvious, are the changes in physiology that accompany the acquisition of any knowledge. Yet, to say we acquire knowledge that suggests knowledge is independent from physiology – some kind of "add-on" – and it’s not. Rather, knowledge is nothing short of a change in our body from the moment when the knowledge is not yet part of us, to the next moment when it is.

After I learn something, I am physically different. That happens 100’s of times a day. What a wonder that is.

Do you over-aside?

I’ve noticed recently a tendency in myself and others to add layer upon layer of explanation when we are talking. Once I saw it, I realised how counter-productive it is.

We think we are helping, but we’re not. Piling up information faster than the recipient can process it.

I park my car a few hundred meters from where I work. I enjoy the walk in the morning, and the time to slow down on the way home.

Succint and tells you all that you need to know about where I park.

I park my car around the corner from work because there is free parking. If I can’t get a park I park in the multi-storey car park where I have to pay. Where I previously worked there were people who paid for parking each day just to be a little closer. That’s something like $1,250 a year and I’ve got better things to spend my money on. Though sometimes when I parked there I’d forget and walk back to where I normally parked. Once I even did it in the rain. Anyway, I park in, what’s the name of the street?. I can never remember.

Adding aside, after aside, only confuses the key message. Keep an eye out for it in your communication and assess its effects on those around you – and you when you’re the recipient.

I’m no good at computers…

…is the 21st Century evolution of, “I’m no good at maths.”

It is a declaration that one can’t learn and so is a prime example of an Enemy of Learning.

It is said in response to a fear the person with you is judging you for not having the same knowledge they have. An Assessment that can’t be grounded.

It holds you back from asking for assistance.

The phrase holds you back for no good reason. Let it go.

The Experience of the Soul

I found this quote whilst reading about knowledge as a flow, a fascinating topic in itself.

There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the experience of the soul.” Arnold Bennett

“Ah-ha!”, “The penny has dropped” and “Eureka!” all speak of the moment when the experience of the soul meets with the cognition of the brain but none are quite so elegant as this quote. Why does it take both brain and body to fully understand something? Some insight can be found in the field of Ontological Coaching and its assertion that body, language and emotion are not separate but that changes in one influences change in another. This suggests that to really “get something” you must involve all facets of who we are.

Is it any wonder that “knowledge management” by database archival doesn’t work.

On Wednesday, Alan Silcock and I worked with two groups of people in our Knowledge Game workshop. We started by perturbing them in such a way as to force experience and cognition of knowledge together. Participants entering with a theoretical understanding of knowledge (and that includes Knowledge Managers) experience first hand their own behaviours, perceptions and habits around the use of knowledge. As suggested by Arnold Bennet, there is a force behind the knowledge and emotion that sweeps the room and in some cases is strong enough for people to cry “Ah-ha!”.

Think back to your own “Ah-ha!” moments. Was there a wave of emotion that you felt through your whole body. Some may even describe it as relief. What a challenge for knowledge workers to create this type of environment – regularly – in the corporate world.

I’ve been unable to find anything about Arnold Bennet, the originator of the quote. If you’re able to find something, please email me.