Is Knowing Half the Battle?

I love learning and buy and read a lot of books. I listen to podcasts and am continually exploring. It would be great if I mastered a concept just by listening or reading about it.

Professor Laurie Santos has coined the term GI Joe Fallacy based on the 80’s cartoon in which GI Joe would state after a lesson that “knowing is half the battle.”  However, we all know on some level that even when we know that we want to be grateful, stay present, be kind and be an effective leader that we often fail to live up to our expectations. It takes more than “knowing” what we want to do or should do to make it happen. Behavior change takes conscious effort, planning, practice and habit building.

While we set goals and New Year resolutions, this is only one step. We need to identify small doable habits that we can incorporate into our daily lives.  For example, I set a goal of being more grateful and joyful. I built the habit of reflecting on my day and what I am grateful for right before I fall asleep. I also start the morning experiencing gratefulness for the day. It is a small action that I incorporated into my day.  And yes, it has made a difference. When I experience gratefulness I feel more joyful and alive. Knowing is not enough or even “half the battle.” Building a habit is the critical part. 

If you want to be a more effective leader perhaps you commit to listening and offering empathy before offering your solution. If you want to be more kind perhaps you will send a thoughtful text each morning after breakfast or consciously greet people as you enter your workplace or in your neighborhood.

Identify a goal or habit you would like to incorporate. Study what you need to know and then identify an action you will practice. When will you take a small action?

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