Best Prepared Speech on 4 July 2006
Project 4 from the Competent Communication Manual : How To Say It
Delivered By Low Lay Hong
Learn, Share and Grow
Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow. This is what Anthony J. D¡¯Angelo wrote in ¡°The College Blue Book¡±. Learning is part of our growing process. When we were born, we begin to learn by observing and imitating what we see and hear. As we grow older, we go to school and start learning via formal lessons. But sharing is also a way of learning. Unfortunately, this is often ignored by many people.
Our knowledge is like drops of water. If we keep the drops of water in a bottle, it may evaporate into the thin air before we could add further drops of water to fill up the bottle. But if we release the water into the ocean, it will never dry up. So if we share, we would have gained an ocean of knowledge.
However, it is always not easy make people see this point and encourage them to share their knowledge. This is because we have fears. Fear of humiliation, fear of betrayal, fear of defeat, fear of death. The list is endless. As a result, our basic instinct for survival forces us to control and condition ourselves to act in certain ways.
Many people hold the view that knowledge is power and it is the key source of personal advantage. It is what you know what others do not know that make you valuable.
This perception penetrates our work place and persists even in organizations that have embraced knowledge sharing as their way of life. This is due to the conditioning of our mind since young.
I¡¯m sure most of us, if not all, have watched those kungfu movies during our younger days. These movies would usually show one common scene whereby the kungfu master is being betrayed and killed by his disciple after he has imparted all his skills to the disciple. The young innocent kids watching these movies have subconsciously absorbed the message that imparting your knowledge to others will cause harm to yourself.
We¡¯ve also heard or seen incidents whereby supervisors and colleagues are not willing to share their knowledge for fear of the losing their foothold. In such environment, fresh entrants to the job markets are conditioned with the mindset that sharing is bad. They in turn will not share in future and the whole cycle repeats.
Maybe we can learn something positive from the popular Korean TV serial, Da Chang Jin. When the chief medical lady in the show takes Chang Jin under her wings, she imparts her medical knowledge without any reservations. Both of them share their knowledge with each other and in the process, learnt and gained new knowledge. When they learn and share together, their knowledge also grows and both become successful in their own rights. Therefore sharing is an important source of knowledge.
Our environment constantly injects ideas or values into our mind. Some of these ideas and values are positive and beneficial, some are negative and harmful. We must develop the ability to analyse the hidden messages that are being populated in our mind by the external environment. We must filter out the harmful elements and absorb only the good.
In the ¡°The Fifth Discipline¡± book, Peter Senge wrote: ¡°The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage¡±. Therefore, it is your inability to learn and progress at a faster pace that will erode your personal advantage and not sharing.
In fact, it is wise to share what you know. Because through sharing, you¡¯ll discover what you do not know and this will prompt you to learn and gain more knowledge.
It is not easy to cultivate a culture of sharing. The benefits of sharing have to be ingrained in our mind from a young age. Therefore parents and teachers must build a learning environment in which sharing is a way of life for the younger generation.
In summary, learning is an innate ability, sharing is an acquired wisdom and growing is a natural process resulting from learning and sharing. So ladies and gentlemen, let¡¯s learn, share and grow together.