Life Lesson on the perils of Theory & Implementation

Theory and Implementation

From Brainstorm to Breakthrough: Bridging the Theory-Action Gap

We’ve all experienced the frustration of having great ideas that never see the light of day. How much control do we really have over our actions after all? In today’s competitive educational world, we often see scholars with great ideas who may lack abilities to sell their ideas. Mainly because the process of selling the ideas involves a different set of repetitive actions. Usually, implementation is driven by a different type of motivation in comparison to the motivation to generate a complex idea.

This post explores the reasons behind this theory-action gap and offers strategies to bridge it.

The Balancing Act: Type 1 and Type 2 Workers

Why We Need Both:

Effective workers develop a blend of two styles: Type 1 and Type 2.

  • Type 1: Focuses on completing tasks efficiently, often repetitive or well-defined. This builds confidence and provides a foundation for more complex work.
  • Type 2: Embraces innovation and exploration. This is where breakthroughs happen, but require focused effort with less immediate results.

This concept is explained in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey which highlights the importance of balancing immediate production (P) or Type 1 work with the ongoing development of production capability (PC) or Type 2 work. While Type 1 work can enhance your effectiveness, it’s crucial to invest in your ability to perform Type 2 work for sustained future output. Read more on the Production (P) and Production Capability (PC) balance concepts applied to the goal of increasing impressions on Twitter.

My Strategy:

I alternate between these styles. Type 1 work builds confidence and provides the skills to excel as a Type 2 worker.

The Downside of Lacking Balance:

Extreme focus on one type can hinder success. For example:

  • A purely Type 2 leader, lacking Type 1 experience, might miss crucial practical considerations.
  • A scientist constantly immersed in Type 2 exploration might lose social connection due to a lack of “people time.”

The Takeaway:

Our past experiences, even the “Type 1” ones, are valuable building blocks for future success. By skillfully switching between these styles, we can be well-rounded workers and achieve greater results.

Next Steps:

Let’s delve deeper into how past actions, particularly from Type 1 work, can be leveraged for the successful implementation of new and innovative ideas.

From Hustle to Strategy: An Expat’s Journey

Imagine this: a recent graduate from India, raised in a society where academic pressure was intense. School was rigid, and leisure activities were scarce. The unspoken message was clear: excel in school or risk a limited future.

This was my reality. Like many, I spent my formative years in a relentless pursuit of good grades, attending unregulated after-school programs led by unknown instructors, all in the desperate hope of securing a coveted university spot. This high-pressure environment, while common, produced more anxiety than clarity.

Fast forward to a new chapter: a move abroad, from a developing nation to a developed European city. This transition became a catalyst for developing crucial executive skills. (We’ll explore these skills in the next section).

Here’s why:

  • Adaptability: Adjusting to a new culture, work environment, and social norms demands remarkable flexibility.
  • Independence: Suddenly, familiar support systems are gone. Learning to navigate daily life independently builds resourcefulness and resilience.
  • Decision-Making: From visa applications to budgeting, you’re constantly making choices with significant consequences. This hones your ability to analyze, assess, and make informed decisions.

Pre-Thirties: Finding Balance

Looking back, I recognize the intense pressure many students face. Thankfully, I navigated the academic world at my own pace, striking a balance between studies and a normal life.

Sure, there were moments of pure fun – Sunday evening football games, late-night dorm room conversations. These experiences at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi campus, and later at Bocconi University in Milan, instilled a sense of control and confidence.

Student dorms are unique ecosystems – vibrant, energetic, and filled with bright, ambitious young people. This positive environment extended beyond graduation as I continued living with roommates. Shared housing in your youth offers a wealth of benefits. While distractions exist, the camaraderie and collective problem-solving (“two brains are better than one”) are invaluable.

The Journey of Blogging: Sharing the Light

Starting this blog ignited a spark in me, especially when I discovered my flatmate Michele was also on a similar journey. While a competitive landscape exists, for me, it’s more about referencing my own blogging growth.

Blogging is a marathon, and like nomads traversing vast landscapes, we find strength in community. Collaboration and shared experiences fuel our creativity.

Beyond academics, this newfound freedom to express myself through blogging was incredibly rewarding. In university, feedback arrives once per course or exam. Now, the world is my classroom, and the rewards are richer – respect, connection, and a more vibrant network of friends.

Beyond the Textbooks: The Power of Applied Learning

The saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” But in my experience, the issue wasn’t just dullness – it was a lack of practical application. University offered a strong foundation, but life outside the classroom felt like a more dynamic feedback loop, rewarding action and real-world implementation of ideas.

While some might view extracurricular activities as mere distractions, I saw them as opportunities to experiment and iterate. I was always fooling around on Facebook during my university days. Little did I know, many of my engineering classmates would be figuring out how to leverage social media for business success. Who knows, maybe those students engrossed in Pokemon Go are tomorrow’s AR/VR pioneers!

This is the true power of a balanced approach. Engaging with the world beyond textbooks fosters creativity, encourages experimentation, and fuels the crucial iterations needed to transform ideas into reality. In short, it helps Jack not just think, but act – effectively.


To think is easy, To act is tough, To think and act is the toughest

While we would all want to be a successful Type 2 worker like Brian Acton, the creator of Whatsapp, he too was quite a Type 1 worker who spent over 20 years at Yahoo. So the path to becoming a true Type 2 worker may involve learning as a Type 1 worker.

In my case, I started this blog with a creative burst and produced over 90 blog posts including this one in my first year. However, I reached saturation in my Type 2 work as it had a long way to go in monetizing itself effectively to pay the bills. I moved to a Type 1 job in Research for 4 years. I learned a lot in this Type 1 job but I could only produce 25 new blog posts ever since. So now I am back in my Type 2 worker mindset and updating all my blog posts with all the new experiences.

I am confident of accomplishing true Type 2 worker greatness now with the help of this additional Type 1 experience.

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Hi, I’m Vineeth Naik

Liberal part time Blogger and full time Researcher with a broad range of experience, professionally and personally in Austria, Italy, UAE & India. Loves Finance, Business & Technology. Cares about society.

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