I recently had a conversation with a colleague of mine regarding the merits of vertical learning verses horizontal learning. Horizontal learning is the traditional style of learning where you progressively build upon previous learning. This is the method of learning we are accustomed to from our days in school. This style of learning is very helpful in the learning of finite information that builds on previous learning and doesn't change. Such as mathematics, grammar, or other process-type information. This would be learning that is in line with what is traditionally viewed as IQ building. Vertical learning on the other hand is the development of dealing with complexity and variables. Where the outcome of a situation has a multitude of paths that it can take given what decisions you make. You affect the outcome by your decisions, without always being aware of the end result. This learning is often associated with an individual's EQ level.
Vertical learning is fast becoming the needed skill-set for people in business. This is not to say that horizontal learning has no place- when looking at any learning it is always a good practise to look at things as an 'and' not an 'or'. With a focus on both you can create what I refer to as Wisdom. vertical pivot windowWisdom is something that for the most part in our western culture has been lost. When we think of Wisdom in the traditional sense it is having the ability to conceptualize and link together both a life of experience with learned information. Making the connection between what is happening, what has happened, the outcome you and others seek and engaging with a strong set of personal values. It is neither your IQ nor EQ but rather a combination of both working in harmony to look at a problem or situation from a new perspective.
So, you may be asking how this is different in application. What Wisdom brings to the table during these times where complex thinking is required, is a holistic perspective on the outcome of the situation. Often we will look to 'experts' for guidance instead of to those who affect their surroundings in a profound way. We look for the answer to the issue versus the path we need to take to learn something through experience. Wisdom is not about having the answer- that is considered intelligence. Wisdom is about a desire to impart a perspective to another, to share, guide and in turn learn though active participation in life and its experiences.
With Wisdom comes the ability to associate different situations to a common set of values. It is about why and how we affect the world and it's learning, not what we get back from playing our part. As with most situations the paradox is that if you positively affect the world by bettering it, you will receive what you need to continue this work in return. So the real question is how do you believe you can begin to change your surroundings for the better? How can you begin to play a pivotal role when you may not have the new great idea? My guidance to you is to begin to take part in the world that exists outside your day-to-day. It is more than your family and friends. More than the company or market where you work. It is not about sitting at home or work researching the latest trends or reading the latest book released by some famous speaker. Go out a try new things. Go to where people gather and share your story. Ask questions and learn from other's stories. We are all sitting at the table of life waiting our turn to speak. Find your voice, speak your mind and begin to learn.
True success is not a gamble or game of chance. Others around you will always have reasons to doubt their abilities and potential. They lack the skills and understanding to truly make sustainable changes. Success is a complete change in perspective and orientation.