Today we are taking a look at a favorite topic around TKN: Learning Stuff.
I see a lot of people asking Dr. Kashey for education advice. Given his level of formal education, it is reasonable to assume that the good doctor would have some insight on the topic. Many come looking for a book to read or a course to take.
While he has read more textbooks than anyone else I know, I have rarely seen him start off with a book recommendation. The communication of facts and trivia has a known path.
And while TKN is built on a foundation of accurate information and knowledge, its magic is the work that Dr. Kashey and the team have done to help people translate that information into action.
So, here is Dr. Kashey’s confession on education:
The best education is REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE, specifically in the form of mentorship.
MENTORSHIP IS THE WAY TO GO, Science Says
Recently, a group of scientists, hailing from three continents, converged at Northwestern’s Institute of Complex Systems. Their purpose was to investigate the relationship between mentorship and protege success.
It was the single largest effort to quantify the impact of mentorship on achievement. They studied the genealogical data of 40,000 scientists who published a combined 1.2 million papers on this subject between 1960 and 2017. It was a massive undertaking.
When the mentor-protege relationship clicks, that protege has a 200-400% greater level of achievement based on their metrics when compared to an equally talented student without a mentor relationship.
Additionally, a properly mentored protege:
- is far more likely to pioneer in their own field
- has stronger peer and collaborative relationships
- is able to establish themselves in new and different fields where they eventually become mentors
Now that is a virtuous cycle.
Math shows that mentorship makes you better.
A proper mentor relationship involves
- Modeling-watching the mentor
- Collaboration-working with the mentor
- Dynamic Assessment-receiving consistent feedback on performance, so you learn where to focus your energy and improve.
When you find these three elements in a single person, and you glue yourself to that person—>
You’ve got yourself a mentorship.
The great debate
About 100 years ago there was a raging brawl between two supernerds:
The role of informal teaching practices on the development of talent
The two supernerds:
Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein
They both agreed on the importance of mentorship, but each had conflicting opinions on what made it important.
Believed that mentorship existed to provide alternative perspectives in an already substantiated knowledge base in order to develop critical thinking skills and to connect the dots needed to progress the field.
In other words, a mentor helped their protégés by filling in knowledge gaps.
Believed the value was not “the learning of many facts, but the training of minds to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.”
In other words, instead of teaching you what to think, they teach you how to think, and why you are thinking it.
Both viewpoints are reasonable and probably reflected each man’s perspective on their own mentor relationships.
(However, if you were wondering, we’re team Einstein.)
In trade settings, this is apprenticeship.
In corporate settings, this is internship.
In academic settings, this is advisorship.
All of these “ships” can fall under the umbrella of mentorship.
But a true mentorship goes further.
Dr. Kashey believes that a true mentor has a closer, more personal relationship with you. It is beyond the scope of on the job training or tricks of the trade. A true mentor takes the best parts of what they have learned over the course of their entire life, and uses it to develop you as a person.
You cannot get this from a book.
We already have an idea of the educational material that is out there. We are, after all, in the “information age.” With just a smidge of effort, it is easy to access reliable sources of facts and trivia. The gift of mentorship is that it allows for the acquisition of tacit knowledge.
Tacit knowledge covers the skills, ideas and experiences that people have but are not able to communicate through means of formal education. There is a massive amount of impossible to quantify education that comes from real world experiences under expert supervision. This tacit knowledge is crucial for achievement.
Tacit knowledge is the bridge between basic knowledge and mastery. Book knowledge will take you far when combined with brain force and persistence.
Add mentorship into this equation, and it’s like injecting rocket fuel.
How to Maximize your Mentorship
It is our responsibility to get from 0 to 1.
Proper mentorship takes you from 1 to 10.
Applying the fruits of the mentorship
- In other fields
- With other collaborators
Sets you up to move from 10 to 100.
To maximize this relationship, you must:
- Learn everything you possibly can from this person
- Use what you learn as your vocational bedrock, a framework for decision making within your field
- Spread your intellectual wings so you can develop your own knowledge.
Mentorship is perhaps the most collaborative platonic relationship you will ever experience.
As you progress in this relationship, you begin to bring important insights from other collaborative relationships. This is also where you gain intellectual independence and form your own models.
Mentorship is the best form of education because it allows you to grow beyond charted territory. It is fiercely personal because it combines the best bits of your mentor’s life and your life into something entirely new.
When you learn from a mentor who teaches by doing, your education will go well beyond the specified subject. A type of meta learning occurs. As they share their experiences with you, they will be teaching you things by accident.
You will pick up on things that only you, with your own peculiar well of knowledge and experience, can learn.
There is absolutely nothing like it.
Mentorship is the best form of education because it allows you to grow beyond charted territory.
A proper mentor relationship involves:
- Modeling-watching the mentor
- Collaborating-working with the mentor
- Dynamic Assessment-receiving consistent feedback on performance,so you learn where to focus your energy and improve.
A personal note from the author:
This post seemed like a perfect opportunity to express gratitude to the mentors I have had. But as I wrote and rewrote it, all words fell short.
My best attempt at gratitude is to continue building on the foundation so freely offered to me.
About Jacquelyn Laporte
Jacquelyn LaPorte has had the privilege of working with TKN since 2018. The journey has been a wild one, but it has ushered her into the driver’s seat of her own life. She learned how to ask questions, answer them honestly and act on the answers. She has used this process to become a better parent to her 3 kids, a better wife, a better boss, a better learner, a better human. She believes that no experience is wasted, (not even majoring in a dead language with no career plan😊 or starting a business with 0 entrepreneurial spirit). Each experience gives the gift of new eyes. Perfect choices are not required, and that makes her free to choose.
“There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life, and every one of them sufficient.”
Team TKN cultivates, curates and shares Dr. Trevor Kasheys’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.