Knowledge or Wisdom (WT606)

Knowledge or Wisdom (WT606)


WT 606 Knowledge or Wisdom

This week I had a wonderful conversation with a colleague around knowledge vs wisdom.

You know my favourite quote in the world is “The great aim of education is not knowledge but action” by Herbert Spencer.

Well this week I learned a new term “propositional knowledge”. It’s a concept in psychology.

If you have propositional knowledge about a topic, you know the theory and you have an understanding of the proposition that you believe to be true.

For example, you can watch someone ride a push bike. You can see that you need to keep your balance centred, your back straight and use your legs to push the pedals to make the bike go.

This is propositional knowledge. You understand the proposition or concept of riding a bike.

It is only when you get on the bike and ride it for yourself (many times) that it becomes embodied knowledge, ie experience and eventually wisdom.

As an example, I remember when I was studying for my teaching degree, I thought I knew everything about class control and discipline strategies and techniques.  I had read the books, listened to my lecturers and completed my assignments, that was, until I actually got in front of a class and realised I didn’t know how to control the class at all.

It was only after having acted out the propositional knowledge that I was able to embody the knowledge and achieve the result of controlling the class.

Propositional knowledge is like having a theory or hypothesis and then testing the hypothesis through experimentation to see if it works.

Until you have conducted a few successful experiments and altered a number of variables, all you have is theory (propositional knowledge) not wisdom or lived experience or embodied action.

Remember, “the great aim of education is not knowledge but action”.

Are you embodying what you know or are you espousing theory?

P.S. Invite your friends to get the Weekly Thoughts delivered directly to their inbox. Go to

Not Every Kid Gets a Trophy (WT605)

Not Every Kid Gets a Trophy (WT605)


WT 605 Not every kid gets a trophy

When I was growing up I had a friend who was very athletic. She always seemed to get out of school by going to the regional, zone and state athletic carnivals and she would come back with a fistful of medals and trophies.

I was very envious. The best I could do was come last in a three-legged race.

I wasn’t athletic, but I was smart.

I learned that not every kid gets a trophy and this helped me to understand my strengths and weaknesses.

This memory came to the fore recently when one of my clients was telling me about some of his team members whom he had to let go. “Shirl, they just couldn’t do the job. They just couldn’t seem to learn it. I really started questioning myself and whether it was the way I was training them and you know the really interesting thing, was that they didn’t see it. They really thought their skills and ability were much higher than I did.”

This also reminded me of the research conducted by Carol Dweck. According to Dweck, there are two basic mindsets: fixed and growth. If you have a fixed mindset, you believe your abilities are fixed traits and therefore can’t be changed. You may also believe that your talent and intelligence alone leads to success, and effort is not required.

In my client’s case, the team members seemed to have a fixed mindset albeit an inflated picture of their real abilities.

Dweck worked with children in school and found that some would not even try because they had decided they couldn’t learn or that they were stupid etc.   They blamed themselves and circumstances and believed nothing could or would change. This is a Fixed mindset.

With one 3 letter word, Dweck was able to help them change their mindset to that of a Growth mindset, where they were able to believe that effort and practice over time could make a meaningful difference. A fixed mindset contributes to limiting beliefs whereas a growth mindset empowers beliefs.

Would you like to know what the three letter word is?

It’s “Yet”.   When children said they couldn’t do something, Dweck encouraged them by adding the word “yet” to the end of their sentence.

Give it a go.  Next time you find yourself limiting what you think you can achieve, insert the word “yet” when you hear yourself say, I can’t …………yet.

And as for the kids with a fixed mindset that they can’t be beaten or no-one else is as good as them, a timely reminder that not every kid gets a trophy.

If you’re interested to see whether you’ve got a fixed or growth mindset click on the link to complete the quiz.

Regards Shirley

P.S. Invite your friends to get the Weekly Thoughts delivered directly to their inbox. Go to

The Second in Command (WT604)

The Second in Command (WT604)


WT 604 The Second in Command

This week I thought we’d talk about leadership and what it means to be the Second in Command (2IC).

In a few weeks I’ll be launching my new book called The Loyal Lieutenant: How the Second in Command Brings the CEO’s Vision to Life.

Before we look at the role of the person in your organisation who supports the boss, let’s look at the boss’ role.

The CEO, Managing Director, CVO (Chief Vision Officer) or whatever title the head person goes by, has the responsibility of creating the vision and direction for the organisation.

Being able to see what the majority cannot see is a true gift. That’s what makes them so valuable. They see possibility where the rest of us see darkness.

But – the majority of visionaries lack the ability to clearly articulate their vision in a way that others can see.

This is where the 2IC shines.

The 2IC is an interpreter. The 2IC gets the vision and is able to explain that to the team in a way they can understand.

The 2IC is responsible for bringing the vision to life; for developing the strategy and the plan and the actions that need to be completed by the team.

The 2IC is there to guide and support the team; to provide the resources and to solve problems.

The 2IC is the conduit between the team and the visionary.

The visionary wants to know where the projects are up to and the 2IC is the person who provides the progress updates. Communication is key.

Have a look in your organisation, even if your organisation is your family unit. There will be one person on your team who has the vision. There will be another who interprets and communicates this to the rest of the team, who will get stuff done.

Here’s an example that can be applied at both the workplace and at home.

Visionary decides to take the team to Disneyland. This is the destination.

The 2IC questions and clarifies what the visionary sees and shares this with the team and comes up with the strategy and the plan and then assigns the tasks to the team:

  1. Someone to arrange flights and accommodation
  2. Someone to arrange meals
  3. Someone to arrange insurances
  4. Someone to create an itinerary of activities
  5. Someone to organise transport in America

Every single person on the team contributes to the end goal in some way. Think of it like an orchestra with many different instruments, all led by the conductor. The 2IC is the conductor, guiding and mentoring the team.

Question: if you have a team to complete the tasks, should the 2IC be doing the tasks?

No. The role of the 2IC is coordinate and make it happen.

Who is that person in your organisation or family?

If it’s not you, are you supporting them by doing the tasks or are you standing back and letting them do your job?

The role of the 2IC is to bring the vision to life.

What’s your role?

P.S. Invite your friends to get the Weekly Thoughts delivered directly to their inbox. Go to

It’s Not Okay (WT603)

It’s Not Okay (WT603)


WT 603 It's not Okay

Mostly, I love humans.

Every now and again though, some do some things that really challenge my value system.

We visited a friend for dinner and had parked Harry Hilux in the street. We enjoyed a lovely dinner and were feeling very relaxed and happy when we left (no not drunk, just happy).

We walked up to the car.

Harry Hilux has a tray back and when we got to him there on his back was a half full carton of chocolate milk.

“Really!” Someone had left their rubbish sitting there.

We looked around for a bin. No bins.

We didn’t want to leave it in the street, so I ended up carrying it home in my hands whilst Ross drove and threw it in the bin when we arrived home.

In these days of Covid, I was also a little anxious about touching the rubbish.

What goes on in people’s brains that they think that sort of behaviour is okay?

It’s not okay.

Even if there wasn’t a bin in sight, please take your rubbish with you until you find one.

Okay, rant over.

What would you have done?

Would you have left it in the street or found a bin?

Let’s not litter Australia.

Let’s take responsibility for our actions and look after this amazing country and planet we call home.

P.S. Invite your friends to get the Weekly Thoughts delivered directly to their inbox. Go to

Bye Bye Contessa (WT602)

Bye Bye Contessa (WT602)


WT 602 Bye Bye Contessa

Yesterday was a day of mixed emotions for Ross and I.

It was the day we said goodbye to our beautiful Contessa, our home for almost 3 years as we travelled around Australia.

It was sad to see her for the last time as she sat in the dealer’s yard, knowing that this was the end of another chapter and adventure for us.

And we are also extremely grateful for such an easy sale.

Life is always working for you, even though at times it may not be to your preference.

Having returned to Newcastle to run a leadership experience in November/December, we had initially planned to return to South Australia. We figured we had another 2 years before construction on our apartment would be completed.

As it turned out, we were extremely lucky that Contessa had been booked in for a service and was still under warranty (by 3 months). The service centre found that there had been water damage from a fault in the plumbing design and if out of warranty could have cost some tens of thousands of dollars to fix.

The service centre was also completely booked out for about 6 months so we would have had to have found alternate accommodation.

Fortunately, we had made the decision to stay in Newcastle for the 2 years and had found somewhere to live. The dealership also offered to buy Contessa provided the repairs would be covered by warranty.

Wow! Who could have known that?

Indeed, on the morning of the day Ross was taking her to Sydney for her service, I felt an overwhelming sadness as I emptied our contents. “Say goodbye to Contessa Ross”, I said. “She’s not coming back.”

“What do you mean she’s not coming back?” asked Ross. “Of course she is, she’ll be back in a few weeks.”

“No she won’t” I continued. “She’s going to be sold, so say goodbye.”

Little did we know that morning that that was exactly what was going to happen.

She didn’t come home and she was sold and today I took one last look and one last photo of our amazing girl who sheltered us and shared our wonderful adventure for the past few years.

Life is always working for you, even if at times, it’s not to your preference.

What’s happening for you?

Have you noticed lately that you “know” things before they occur?

What preferences are not pleasing you at the moment, that could ultimately turn out to be for your best?

I’m so very thankful for the time we had with Contessa and the travels and adventures and I trust her new owners will love her as much as we did.

P.S. Invite your friends to get the Weekly Thoughts delivered directly to their inbox. Go to

Pin It on Pinterest