If you’re interested in Knowledge Management, you are seeking to improve as a person.
The concepts of Knowledge Management and Personal Growth are so deeply intertwined that I'll go as far as to say that Knowledge Management automatically leads to Personal Growth.
Here's why: Every piece of knowledge is personal.
“We see the world, not as it is, but as we are." – Stephen Covey
In essence, knowledge depends on your unique perspective.
This means that every piece of knowledge is about you. Yes, even if it's about something else, it actually redirects to your understanding of the world.
That's because everyone has a unique lens to see the world. And we aren't capable of shutting off this lens.
Every time you deal with knowledge, you are dealing with 2 elements simultaneously:
- Your Unique Lens
- The External World
It's impossible to separate the World from your Perspective.
It's impossible to apply Knowledge Management without involving some aspect of your Self-Knowledge.
You are always honing your understanding of yourself, even if unconsciously. And this is a great thing.
“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” – Socrates
Since Wisdom begins by "knowing thyself,"... It becomes a probable consequence to use Knowledge Management to make sense of your knowledge.
And again, knowledge about the world teaches you about your own perspective.
And although a good part of this may happen on an unconscious level...
There are many conscious ways to deploy Knowledge Management to improve yourself deliberately.
There is something special about creating deliberate systems for Personal Growth because you are using your conscious mind to accelerate an unconscious improvement.
7 Practices To Supercharge Your Growth With PKM.
1. Develop a Vision and a Purpose
The first step to accelerate your personal growth is developing a vision and purpose. You want a clear picture of what you want to achieve in life.
The second step is to add them to your Knowledge Management so you are constantly reminded of your biggest aspirations.
With that said, let me ask you: "Why are you here on this planet?"
If you can't answer this question, your purpose is unclear.
And, by consequence, you are not reminded often enough of your purpose…
This is the case for the vast majority of people. And this is why life gets so frustrating at times.
When you are disconnected from your vision, your major source of motivation is gone. Life doesn't make sense because you have no clear direction.
With no clear direction, you're bound to become but another sheep and mindlessly follow others in unproductive and meaningless cycles.
To stop this cycle, you must develop a vision and a purpose.
- A vision is what you want.
- A purpose is why you want it.
It is quite simple, but I want to clarify things further, as most people get it wrong.
Your vision is not what you want "at the end of your life".
Your vision is what you want in this exact moment of life – knowing it will take a couple of years to get there.
Everything will change drastically 5 years from now, so don't bother planning 20 years into the future.
Your vision is about right now. So, ask yourself:
"Why are you here on this planet… RIGHT NOW?"
This is the real question.
Set High Hard Goals
A High Hard Goal (HHG) is a concept coined by Steven Kotler in his book Art of Impossible.
HHGs are very hard goals that take you thousands of hours to pursue successfully. This means they are measured in years. Yes, maybe multiple years.
But a key characteristic is that HHGs completely change your life when achieved, representing major shifts in how you live and operate.
High Hard Goals boost motivation because they're strongly aligned with your deepest desires. That’s what makes them great candidates for expressing your vision.
If you are clear about why you want them, you will have also defined your purpose.
2. Set Clear Goals
The human attention span is at an all-time low, which means if something isn't clear, it won’t catch your attention, and you will avoid it.
This is why you want to make your next steps as clear as possible. So after creating High Hard Goals, the next step is to break them down into Clear Goals.
Clear Goals drive focus, improve motivation and enhance performance. They are the pinnacle of high performance.
Performance relies on reducing distraction by filtering out unnecessary information. It means to stop your mind wandering because you know exactly what to do next. It means to focus on where and when to put your attention next.
I don’t mean next month or next year. Instead, I mean David Allen’s concept of “Next Action list” in GTD.
You want to focus on what's next. Otherwise, you will get overwhelmed by the big picture (i.e. your High Hard Goals). Your HHGs will distract you from taking the important and necessary actions in the present, your clear goals.
So focus on accomplishing one clear goal, then moving on to the next one.
In terms of performance, clear goals are more important than High Hard Goals.
Just be sure that your clear goal has the clarity of WHAT you want and WHY you want it, which comes from your HHGs.
Set Clear Goals for each Period of Time
- High Hard Goals.
- Annual Goals.
- Quarterly Goals.
- Monthly Goals.
- Weekly Goals.
- Daily Goals.
The most important goals are the daily goals.
If you focus on what comes next, you're good to go. The intermediate goals between HHGs and daily goals bridge the gap and make setting the next goals easier.
3. Review your Progress
Reviews are a massive source of growth.
There are 2 types of review that you should focus on:
- Progress Review
- Performance Review
Notice there is no "Goals Review" in there. That's because goals are useful, but in the end, goals don't matter.
Progress is what matters.
There is no point in reviewing your goals and measuring if you've achieved them or not.
This is a very superficial way to review your progress. You may fail your goals and yet make INSANE progress with something that wasn't initially planned.
Instead, what you measure is incredibly important.
Measure the Gain, not the Gap.
The Gap and The Gain is a concept from Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach, popularized in a recent book in collaboration with Dr. Benjamin P. Hardy.
The core idea here is that you can actively choose how to measure your progress:
You're in The GAP every time you compare yourself to an ideal.
You're in The GAIN whenever you compare yourself to your previous self.
Measure how much progress you've made, how far you have come since you've set a clear goal, and NOT how much is left until you reach your goal.
This is a heavy hack to improve self-confidence and motivation.
4. Change Your Digital Environment
“There are ONLY 3 ways to create lasting change:
• Have an epiphany.
• Change your environment
• Change your habits in tiny ways”
– BJ Fogg, author of Tiny Habits
If you want to create a positive change in your life, changing your environment is the easiest way.
The most powerful source of lasting change lies in shaping your daily environment.
When facing this, most people will immediately think of their physical environments and while I highly recommend you make changes to that, the focus here is on your digital environment.
Your digital environment is your Second Brain or Knowledge Management System. Changes to your layout and workflows can change how you think, feel, and act in your day-to-day life.
So you should design your digital environment to shape your actions.
A template, for instance, can guide your thoughts, behavior, and feelings.
A "template" is a form, mold, or pattern used as a guide to make something. It is especially useful if your Note-taking app has "Daily Pages" but can easily be applied in any tool with other forms of templates.
They give you the power to reclaim your attention and guide your own behavior. This is especially useful if your Note-taking app has "Daily Pages" (to keep track of your daily goals), but templates can easily be applied in any tool.
Use Templates as a Source of Behaviour Design.
Edit your templates, including your Daily Page, to include predefined sets of actions that will guide your behavior.
For example, in my Daily Page (see image below), I've defined that I will: set 3 Clear Goals daily, perform my Morning Practices, and do my Evening Performance Review.
I also want quick access to important parts of my workspace, which are in the "Shortcuts" section, as well as a quick glimpse at my Calendar and Agenda.
This is a clear example of how to apply environment design to support your behavior.
5. Journal your Thoughts
Journaling is one of the best ways to understand yourself. It is a fantastic tool for gathering insights about your beliefs, thoughts, and behavior.
Getting your thoughts out of your mind and into the screen helps you interpret them. It gives you an external perspective from what is inside. 👀
This makes Journaling one of the best tools to access your unconscious mind.
Seeing your own thoughts will guide you to understand patterns and underlying feelings you weren't aware of. And, of course, a note-taking app is perfect for this because you can create a historical record of what has been through your mind.
Create a section in your Daily Page Template for Journaling.
Create a section in your Daily Page template and, from there, just write your thoughts down.
Alternatively, you can create a "Journal" Page and keep it at hand. This way, you can easily access it and keep writing over there.
Remember that consistency is key to Journaling.
Start small, and write a little bit each day.
6. Track your Habits
Most of the behaviors you carry out each day are unconscious actions.
If you want to improve deliberately, you must start by executing your desired behaviors consciously before they become automatic (unconscious).
Habit Tracking is an awesome way to do this.
Your habits can make or break you. Habit design is crucial for a healthy and prolific life.
Define what habits you want to execute daily and check them off as you do.
Use a Habit tracker in your note-taking app.
Decide what habits you want to implement.
Buy, Download, or Create a Habit Tracker in your note-taking app. (Or use a dedicated app to do so.)
Track your habits daily!
7. Repeat Affirmations
Affirmations are one of the best tools to shape your beliefs.
I know they have a bad rep, but hear me out.
Successful people like Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Tony Robbins, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and many others use daily Affirmations to shape their beliefs.
When done correctly, affirmations can be a powerful source of transformation and manifesting. But this is removed from people who negatively judge affirmations. (If you're still totally against Affirmations, you might prefer the word "Incantations", which Tony Robbins uses since he is 17.)
Avoiding Affirmations is like avoiding using Gym equipment because you train Calisthenics. Yes, you don't need it. But it helps you get stronger faster.
And unlike a Gym, affirmations are free for everyone.
Affirmations also deal with your unconscious mind. It's a powerful tool for auto-suggestion. You are shaping your beliefs following your own guidelines.
But Remember 2 things:
1. Affirmations must involve your physiology and feelings.
Your body must resonate with what you're speaking. Otherwise, you're fooling yourself.
2. Affirmations must be backed up by action.
If you act according to your affirmations, you will supercharge the changes to your unconscious.
Add a List of Affirmations to your Daily Page or Pinned Note.
First, you've got to decide what Affirmations you want to repeat daily.
After you've decided what you want to repeat, add that as a shortcut somewhere you'll see every day.
Repeat those words daily with ferocity and intention.
These 7 practices are incredibly powerful, and I can personally attest to the benefits of every single one of them.
That said, I've been implementing them for over 5 years now. It takes time to add them to your routine successfully.
Don't try to implement them all at once.
That's the recipe for disaster.
Instead, choose the 2-3 practices that most resonated with you, and start from there.
Add these new practices to your Personal Knowledge Management system first, then keep doing them for weeks and months, and see how that improves your life.
Later, look back and measure your progress.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fis Fraga is a digital writer and creator. He helps people cultivate a productive and fulfilling life using the help of Knowledge Management and Systems Thinking. You can learn more about Fis Fraga's work at: https://www.fisfraga.com