We have known so much but have a little result to show for it. We have been to all kinds of schools and at different levels, read all kinds of books but have little or no skill to show for it. This is because we engage more in passive learning (literacy) than active learning (practice).

Often, a new result is not dependent on new knowledge but new practice. Progress comes by practice likewise results. We may not realise how much we have known until we start practicing. It might surprise you to know that the gap between where you are and where you want to be is PRACTICE.

Let’s examine the meaning and the difference between some keywords.

According to the Merrian Webster Dictionary, the word literacy means “the ability to read and write OR knowledge that relates to a specified subject.”

The difference between learning and practicing according to Thomas Sterner’s book, The Practicing Mind (Audio Book), is that:

‘‘When we practice something, we are involved in the deliberate repetition of a process with the intention of reaching a specific goal. The words “deliberate” and “intention” are here because they define the difference between actively practising something and passively learning it’’.

–Thomas Sterner, The Practicing Mind.

The best way to improve literacy is by practice.  You should go beyond literacy to practice that is what gives you skill. You only acquire skill by practice not by passive learning, which does not empower you. Reading how to drive, bake a cake, sew cloth etc, does not make you a skilled person in any of these areas but practice.

This is a major challenge in our educational system. We do more of acquiring knowledge (literacy) in school than practicing. We encourage ‘‘acquired knowledge’’ not ‘‘applied knowledge’’ in school which make most of us ‘learned graduates but unskilled’.

Difference between passive learning (Literacy) and active learning (Practice):

  • Active learning (Practice) helps you to master the method while passive learning (Literacy) does not.

In passive learning, you are inactive. You develop more insight through the mistakes you make during practice. In active learning, you are actually doing the method while in passive learning; you are just reading the method. You become a master in active learning (practice) than in passive learning (literacy).

  • Practice is literacy but literacy is not practice.

You cannot practice without learning but you can learn without practicing. In fact, you learn as you practice. The knowledge you cannot practice keeps you in a state of literacy.

Someone might ask, is literacy useless? Of course, not!

This article seeks to postulate that we should seek to go beyond the level of literacy to practice. Remember, you are not paid for what you know but for what you do. We should engage more in active learning (Practice) than passive learning (Literacy).

              NO PRACTICE! NO SKILL!