SDS 186: Why Execution Trumps Knowledge

SDS 186: Why Execution Trumps Knowledge

Execution Trumps Knowledge

Welcome to another FiveMinuteFriday special of the SuperDataScience Podcast!

In today’s episode, let’s talk about something we could ponder upon before (and maybe over) the sought-after weekend. It’s time to look at the immeasurable worth when knowledge and execution are properly balanced.

Last week, I got to attend Tony Robbins’ Business Mastery Seminar in Las Vegas, Nevada. For five whole days, I was lucky to learn not only the secrets to business but also a lot of strategies and tips I could apply (and you could also) in my outlook towards my career and personal life.

One of the things he introduced that have stuck in me after that is the concept of knowledge and execution. Tony Robbins says that knowledge is important and great but execution trumps knowledge every day of the week. Do you believe so?

As data scientists, it’s important that we’re equipped with the knowledge needed to be valuable to the industry you are working in. We study years studying just to fill our minds with theories, concepts, processes, algorithms, and many more. But knowing is not enough. To be really impactful to what you’re doing it’s important also that you know how to transform them into a concrete and workable plan. When you think of it, what will happen if you choose to cease the flow of thoughts, ideas, and intentions ‘outside’ your mind? Nothing.

So, here are 3 tips that Tony Robbins highly suggest you do:

  • Get into the peak state. Look at the extremities of what you feel. Sometimes, you feel happy, sometimes, you feel sad. Sometimes, you feel like you could rule the world, sometimes, you feel like interacting with anybody is exhausting. Sometimes, you got pronoia, sometimes, you got paranoia. Both states can happen, you just have to choose what should manifest. Of course, always choose the first state – the peak state.
  • Complexity is the enemy of execution. If you make it complex, you’re making it hard to follow through. In success, 80% is psychology and 20% is mechanics. So, ‘what you know’ is just a small piece of the pie. Stop overthinking and take action now.
  • Other People’s Experience. When we execute, we tend to do things over and over again even though we know it will not work. Here’s a shortcut: observe what people around you are doing. Observe what they’re doing and what they’re doing right. Study and learn so the next time you ‘do’, you do it right!

Make sure to tune in to know more about these tips and my Tony Robbins experience!

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Full Podcast Transcript

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This is FiveMinuteFriday, episode number 186, Knowledge and Execution.

Welcome back to the Super Data Science Podcast ladies and gentlemen. Very excited to have you on this show, we've got a really cool topic that we're going to cover off. So over the past week, Hadelin and I went and attended Tony Robbins' Business Mastery Event in Las Vegas. Very, very exciting. As you guys know I'm quite a big fan of Tony Robbins and attended his Date With Destiny twice now, and this is my third event with him. As always, beyond any sort of expectations, really enjoyed it, lots of fun, great connections, high energy, great content, learned so many new things. And today I wanted to share one of the things that I learned during this event, and I chose writing down notes. In fact, I have a 96 page notebook, like A4 pages, like the big ones, and I took 91 pages of notes there. And while I was writing these notes down sometimes I would circle something, I'd say this would be really cool for a FiveMinuteFriday episode. And one of the most powerful things that I circled like that was about knowledge and execution, and so here's what Tony Robbins had to say about knowledge and execution.

As data scientists we often, what we do is we learn, all the time, regardless of what stage of your career you're in, you're always learning, whether you're just starting out and you're taking some online courses or you're more advance in your career and you're reading some maybe research papers and also possibly taking courses or reading books and things like that. You have to stand up to the game because this field is developing so rapidly. So we're always getting new knowledge all the time. But what Tony says about knowledge is that knowledge is important and is great, but execution trumps knowledge every day of the week. I'll repeat that. Execution trumps knowledge every day of the week. Ultimately, what's the point of knowledge if you're not executing on it? If you have the knowledge and you're not going and doing projects or applying it in work to make the world a better place or to help business, or maybe do some of your own projects and hobbies and things like that, what's the point of that knowledge? So you need to execute and need to execute effectively.

And today I wanted to share three tips with you, three tips that Tony shared with us at the event and I think they'll help you with your execution to actually take your execution to the next level. Because we all, of course we execute, we rarely learn something and then don't take action, although it happens I guess. But at the same time if we are consciously learning something then there's a reason for it and then we go and execute. But here are three tips that will help you execute even better.

So tip number one is that you need to get in state, and this is probably the most important tip, one of the most important tips that Tony shared during the event, is you need to get into peak state, into a great state, it's also called a beautiful state, from where you can execute. Now what does that mean? Well, we all have had times when we're feeling up and we're feeling down, when we're feeling like we can conquer the world and nothing is going to stop us, and times when we're feeling a bit sad or maybe a bit lonely or don't want to get out of bed, that type of feeling. So in which case do you think you're going to execute better? It, of course, is going to be in the first state, in the first case when you're in peak state, when you're feeling great, you feel like you're unstoppable. Well, the secret is that that state is all under your control, it's nothing something that is externally ... It is influenced externally, but it's not something that you can't control, that is totally out of your hands. It's actually totally in your hands, and Tony says that you can change your state like this, just like you're clicking your fingers.

And in fact he practices what he preaches. During the event he constantly gets the audience to jump, to stand up and jump to the music, and yell out, "Yes" and all these other really cool ... Just be fully full of energy, give high fives, give hugs to each other and things like that. That's something that we've inherited and we're also doing at Data Science GO for instance. We constantly get the audience to do, and everybody in the room, to get into peak state so that we can learn better, so we can network better, so that we feel like we're able to do anything. And so that's something that you can replicate at home, you just put some music on, you start jumping, you start getting yourself pumped up, that's a very important skill to master. And I know you might be sitting there thinking, "Oh, this is not for me. This is ridiculous. How am I ... This is very childish" and so on. But it really works, it really works. And we had a fantastic time.

And I'll tell you that during this whole event, which is five days, it would start around 10 a.m. and would finish at close to midnight, maybe like 10 p.m., 11 p.m. So for five days, 12 hour days, Tony was on stage at least 80% of the time, maybe 70% or 80% of the time, and we were in the audience listening to this, I felt tired maybe once for 30 minutes, and the rest of the time I was full of energy. It's ridiculous what you can make yourself do when you get into peak state, how much energy you have really and how fulfilling and cool your experiences can be. So tip number one, or strategy number one, tactic number one, get into peak state. Get into a beautiful state and then execute from there. You'll get more result.

Number two is complexity is the enemy of execution. If you make things complex for yourself, then it's going to be harder to follow through, there's more potential for mistakes, but also psychologically. Tony also says that in success 80% is psychology, 20% is mechanics. You already know how to learn things, you already ... And maybe you've already learned something, you know how to apply it, but that's only 20%. 80% is your psychology. So just as getting into a good state affects our psychology positively, complexity affects your psychology negatively. So you want to remove complexity because it's going to put hurdles in the way of your execution. So for instance, especially when you've learned something and then you want to build this mission learning model, or something like that, and you see it and it's like all these steps, all these complex things that you have to do, you're going to be less likely to succeed. So break it down into simple steps and then take them step by step. Make it very simple for you to execute, and then your execution will go to the next level.

And finally, there's a concept, the third point, something that Tony talks about is called OPE, other people's experience. A very important point to consider that when you execute, when you've learned something and then you execute on it, whether it is like applying a mission learning model or whether it's executing on getting a new job or progressing your career forward or building a business, or whatever it is that you're executing on, we often tend to try and try and try and try, but we're often trying the wrong thing. We're trying maybe the same things over and over and over again. And then we give up because we think, "Oh, we've tried everything." But you actually haven't tried everything, you've tried three things that don't really work and you've tried them many, many times. Well, one way to try to shortcut that and try the right things is to see what other people are doing. And learn from their experience, and that's what personally I think I've been quite open to throughout my whole life. I've been quite open to learning through other people's experiences and building on top of that, rather than making the same mistake myself.

So that's something that I would encourage you to look into when you're executing, when you're preparing to execute or planning to execute. Think, look around and see what other people have done and how do they execute to be successful and what can you learn from that? The good news is that you're already doing that. By listening to this podcast, unless this is your very first episode, you've already heard a couple of people at least, maybe a dozen, or some people you've already heard close to 100 people, who've built careers in data science, who have applied different types of models, who've applied different approaches and techniques and made different mistakes and learned from that. So you're already building on other people's experience. So on that I salute you, you're already on the right track, you already have this. But approach it more consciously, see that you're doing this and do that more proactively in real life. Maybe you're working with somebody and you can learn from them. Maybe you're about to execute on something and you did hear something on the podcast, well put the two together and see how that can augment your experience so that you won't make the same mistakes or your execution will indeed go to the next level.

So there we go. In short, that is our plan, or those are our tips. First of all execution trumps knowledge every day of the week. Knowledge is important, execution takes it to the next level, takes you to the next level. Extremely important. Don't make the mistake of learning something and then not following through, not executing on it, actually take some action with it. And the three tips are first of all, get in state, get into peak state. Make yourself get into that state where you can rip mountains apart and you can make anything happen. Point two, complexity is the enemy of execution. Make sure that the way you're executing is simple, straightforward and easy to follow through, then your chances of success are much higher. And point three, other people's experience. Leverage other people's experience in your execution so that you can shortcut your way to success.

On that note, I hope you enjoyed today's tutorial and let's go out there and smash it and be super epic data scientists. I look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, happy analyzing.

Kirill Eremenko
Kirill Eremenko

I’m a Data Scientist and Entrepreneur. I also teach Data Science Online and host the SDS podcast where I interview some of the most inspiring Data Scientists from all around the world. I am passionate about bringing Data Science and Analytics to the world!

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