The Sunday Mail
Everything great has a gestation period.
Before significance there is insignificance. Never despise the womb that you are in today; you will not be there forever.
There is a definite space between planting, plant development and reaping. Reaping where you did not sow is theft. Effortless greatness is usually suspect.
Greatness without due-process could just be baseless fame.
Gestation refers to the period during which an embryo develops. It can also be defined as the state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth.
For humans the gestation period is about 266 days (nine months), rabbits about 33 days (one month) and elephants 620 days (21 months).
All greatness also has a gestation period: from conception to delivery. Whatever dream you are carrying stay in process.
Growth and development take time. What do you do in your gestation period?
Invest in learning
No one can ever be made smaller by learning more. Invest in learning and developing your capacity. There is nothing that is so perfect that it cannot be improved.
Learn as if your season is by the door. Learn as though you will not have another opportunity. Learn as though what you knew is about to expire.
Learn like a mentally starving refugee. Whatever you are learning is compounding towards your personal greatness account.
When you have time in your hands invest in learning because you will soon wish you had done so. When you have no time in your hands, still create spaces for learning within your busy schedule.
You cannot be so busy driving that you have no time to refuel. Anyone who stops learning starts being irrelevant. A starved brain makes for empty babbling.
The road to greatness is filled with hungry learners that are feeding relentlessly. To learn, you have to love learning, hunger for it and be willing to invest in it. Increasingly be aware of the way you learn best; your learning style. No style is superior, it all depends on you and your circumstances.
Learning to learn
There are broadly seven styles of learning. I prefer to think of them as learning gears.
No one gear will work all the time, you have to shift to the appropriate gear. Each learning gear has its place in your greatness locomotion.
See-Learners: These are visual learners. They prefer to use pictures, images, diagrams, colours and mind-maps. Visual learners also prefer to see things in action or happening.
For a visual learner travel is the engine of learning. If you are a visual learner invest in a good smartphone with a good camera and always have your journal handy.
Draw things out, doodle
Do not be afraid that people will not understand you. If you are a “see-learner” invest in a good white board. Do your vision boards as well. Draw out and detail you ideas and goals.
If you are in a meeting be ready to write things out on a flip chart or board.
Do not be imprisoned into thinking that meeting minutes must always follow the Hansard style. Mind map your notes. Express who you are in the learning process.
Do-Learners: These are physical learners who prefer to learn by doing. The “do-learner” is a hands-on practical learner. He learns better through demonstrations, role plays, participation or involvement.
As a do-learner you will find it comfortable to draw diagrams, create models and you want to touch and feel things. Get on with it, get your hands dirty! Get out of the building into the field. Go for the gemba-walk.
Find a mentor who will let you try things out. You always need a learning strategy that optimists your learning style.
Hear-learners: These are aural learners who prefer to hear things. Their main organ of learning is the ears. Aural learner learn through music, recordings, rhymes and hearing.
If you are this learner you will benefit from audio books. Invest in tools that optimise your learning style. As an aural learner purchase a good set of headphones, invest in audio books and hear, hear, hear.
You can also benefit from podcasts, and you can listen to lectures from leading universities. You cannot complain that you did not get the chance to go to school when you can listen to whatever lecture you want. If you drive, never waste driving time just starring at the winding road.
Every time your car engine is running make sure that you are learning. Turn your car from being merely a vehicle to take you from point to point and make it your mobile learning chute.
Turn your car seat into a University of Life seat. The advantage of audio learning is that you can hear faster than you can read or write.
You can learn while cooking or exercising. You can learn while on your way to work. You can-not complain that there is no time to learn when the aural learning option is always available.
Talk-learners: These are verbal learners who prefer using words, both in speech and in writing to assist in their learning.
They verbalise content as a way of digesting learning. In a seminar or class, they are not content with just taking notes, they want to engage, talk, share their experiences, ask questions and con-tribute.
Verbal learners make the most of word based techniques through scripting and reading content aloud. If you are an auditory learner do not be afraid to verbalise things.
One of the techniques that is handy for this type of learner is to teach someone as a way of learning. If you cannot find anyone to teach just pretend there is someone and teach!
When you speak, concepts becomes clearer.
Reason-learners: These are logical learners who prefer using logic, reasoning, and “systems” to explain or understand concepts.
“Reason-learners” are highly conceptual and can sound very philosophical. They want to see links, connections and the bigger picture. They draw on ideas from a variety of fields.
Group-learners: These are social learners who enjoy learning in groups or with other people. Group learners thrive on group work, discussions.
For them you cannot learn without other people. They like attending conferences and workshops. They find it easier to do assignments as a team. They understand better when they discuss with others. Group learners have to connect with other learners.
They aim to work with others as much as possible.
For them learning is fun and easier when they are with other people. These will always need or organize a class as part of the learning process.
Self-learners: These are solitary learners that prefer to learn alone and through self-study. These are people that sometimes read widely and also may use the other styles of learning.
Self-learners sometimes do not have a lot of formal credentials but never under-estimate what they know and their depth.
Many self-leaners have huge personal libraries and invest time in learning and development “far from the madding crowds” of lectures and classes. Self-learners take easily to distance learning. They would easily gravitate towards eLearning.
Prepare, prepare, prepare
No one learning style is superior to others. Know yourself and your circumstances. Over time you will know what works for you.
Some people combine several learning styles. Video learning allows you to combine aural and visual learning.
It is not the style that matters, but the knowledge uptake. What is important is that you learn, develop and keep preparing and positioning yourself for opportunities that do not as yet exist.
Develop your capacity and learn in low risk situations. Before you are on the stage, you can practice in front of a mirror.
Before you can be director of ceremony at a large function, you can do so for a small family gathering. Whatever you do, remember today, is gestation for tomorrow.
Ten thousand hours
In the book “Outliers”, Malcolm Gladwell examines greatness from a very different lens.
He repeatedly mentions the “10 000-Hour Rule”. He claims that the key to achieving greatness and world class expertise in any skill is a matter of practicing the correct way, for a total of around 10 000 hours.
The 10 000 hours translates roughly into about 10 years, but could be lower if you put in more time and greater frequency.
The 10 000-hour rule easily represents the gestation period that you have to go through before you can achieve greatness.
Be willing to spend time in the belly of preparation and you will emerge whole and ready. Learn all the time. Drive towards your greatness, but do not be too much in a hurry.
Great things do take time. Committed to your greatness.
Milton Kamwendo is a cutting-edge international transformational and inspirational speaker, author, coach and strategy, innovation, team-building and leadership consultant. Feedback: [email protected], Twitter @MiltonKamwendo and WhatsApp 0772422634