Information vs. Transformation

There used to be a time when we just didn’t know things. We’d be sitting with a group of friends and someone would ask, “What was the name of Kevin Bacon’s character in Footloose?” and if we couldn’t remember his name was Ren McCormack, we would just let it go. But nowadays, if someone doesn’t shout out the answer, we can rest assured that someone will look it up on their iPhone…saving us from the process of trying to remember.

We have a world of random information at our fingertips.

“What is The Edge from U2’s real name?”

“How many people live on the island of Madagascar?”

“Who was the 10th President of the United States?”

If we don’t know…we just look it up. We have information in abundance. And it’s not just random information that we have access to. It’s self-help books, personality assessments, leadership, and management resources…the list could on and on.

In this age of information, it’s easy to be mass consumers. Reading one book after another. Taking test after test. Listening to podcast after podcast. We could easily spend all of our waking hours learning and gaining information.

But I have to ask, “Whatever happened to transformation?”

Do we take the time to dive deeper into what we’ve learned? Do we sit with information long enough to let it change our life? Do we give space for information to shift our thinking?

This is often what happens with the StrengthsFinder assessment. People buy the book for 20 bucks and take the test. They get their top 5 themes of strength and read the descriptions. Then they take another test or read another book, and dull the impact that the StrengthsFinder can have on their life and worldview. There is a difference between just learning about our strengths and being transformed by an application of our strengths…yet the transformation is where the magic happens.

It’s not only the StrengthsFinder where people do this…It could be the Enneagram, Disc, Meyers-Briggs….or it could be a really powerful article or book. We must train ourselves to slow down and embrace the process of being transformed by diving deeper into the things that resonate with our soul.

Here are three things I’d offer as strategies for transformation:

  1. Process what you’re learning with a friend. If you’ve taken the StrengthsFinder assessment, read your Top 5 Themes to a friend or co-worker and ask them to give you feedback. Or if you’ve read a good book, ask a friend to read it and meet up for coffee to talk about it.
  2. Reflect on the material over time. I have a friend who used to read books quickly, read the book a second time and then write his own outline and executive summary. That was some serious commitment to letting the information go to a deeper place! I’m not this committed, but I do read through what I’ve underlined in books from time to time. Or I read through my personality test results from years ago to see what still rings true. This is especially helpful with your StrengthsFinder results as the book describes the talents which make up each Theme.
  3. Write down how you want to grow as a result of information you learn. If you take a minute after finishing a book to write down action steps to take or ways you hope to grow as a result of what you learned, you increase your chances of remembering what you felt.

Google may be able to serve up thousands of search results for the query, “How can I be transformed?” but transformation only happens when we invest in a focused process.

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