Network with your knowledge – The Hindu


When faced with a difficult situation, take a minute, pause, reflect, take a deep breath, and connect the dots

When faced with a difficult situation, take a minute, pause, reflect, take a deep breath, and connect the dots

“Connecting the dots” is a phrase I use a lot. I think it’s a beautiful set of words that describes a specific phenomenon, a special skill that is crucial to developing one’s leadership and life skills. The process begins with learning and retrieving information or knowledge from various different sources across multiple disciplines. Then, over time, the points or pieces of information that we retain become part of our mind.

When you’re learning something new or learning something interdisciplinary, there are many ways to connect the dots. What we learn throughout our lives remains a spot, a dot, somewhere in our being. Over time, if we make the effort to connect them, the results are amazing and extraordinary. Maybe you are a lawyer learning to speak Japanese. Or a software engineer learning to make cheese. Perhaps you are an art student enrolled in an undergraduate course in quantum mechanics. Whenever our minds engage in very different areas, we get an opportunity to compare, contrast, and connect them.

See the pattern

It’s only when we start connecting these dots, observing a pattern and establishing a relationship between them, that these knowledge points make sense. The seemingly disjointed dots that may have been a blur at first now become distinct networks of knowledge of intriguing clarity. I firmly believe that whatever we learn is never truly wasted. We may not be good at everything we learn, and the skills we develop depend on our discipline and talent. Still, when we are willing to sit down and engage in this exercise, we end up connecting the dots that are present in everything we learn. It all comes together.

Over the years I’ve studied a variety of subjects – sometimes for fun, sometimes for necessity, and sometimes to push myself and challenge my limits. Some people have asked me: “What has learning foreign languages ​​got you? Can music and dance classes help you solve problems at work? Why did you sign up for an undergraduate math course?” These are, of course, well-meaning people who wonder why I tend to keep learning no matter how old I get.

I believe that the diverse and wide-ranging subjects or languages ​​that I have had the privilege of studying over the years have helped shape my worldview and shape my life skills. I still have a long way to go because there is still so much to discover, learn and study. But constant learning has helped me approach each day with new eyes, and as I move from one point of knowledge to another, I realize that they are all connected in one way or another.

The other day when I was doing some research, I sat down with a pen and paper. I’ve drawn a knowledge diagram or tree diagram – call it what you like. The tree represented various themes I had been studying and in an attempt to connect the dots I began drawing lines to connect the branches and came up with a pattern. At that moment, what little knowledge I had gained from all that reading and studying began to make sense. I’m sure we can similarly arrive at patterns that connect what we’ve learned over the years and also relate it to practical experience.

come to solutions

Whether it’s problem solving, decision making, people management, or everyday operational problems, there are countless ways for us to apply a technique we’ve learned in a seemingly unrelated field and then arrive at solutions. For example, with music, dance or an adventure sport, we always start with a warm-up. The same applies when we learn a new subject or a new language. Whatever skill we use as part of that activity, we prepare for the intense activity that follows. It’s almost always about ensuring a strong foundation and working our way through slowly and steadily. At work, when faced with a difficult situation, all we have to do is take a minute, stop, think, take a deep breath, and connect the dots. As in music or in dance or in statistics lessons, I think of the basic rules. This is how I connect the dots.

So the point is: keep learning, keep learning something new, no matter your age. And if the skill or subject we’re trying to learn is very different from the field we’re working in, all the better. Constant learning is fun. And the rewards for connecting the dots make it even more enjoyable.

The author is a writer and literary journalist. She also heads corporate communications at UST. The views expressed are personal. @anupamaraju


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