It's Not What You Cover, But Uncover That Makes An Impact.
April 26, 2011
What counts is not what you cover, but what you uncover! I was struck by the statement while reading a US Airways Magazine article on a flight to Salt Lake City to discuss social media.
The new book, "For the Love of Physics" by Walter Lewin with Warren Goldstein, was being featured in their "Must Read" section. Now typically, when I see a title like that, the last thing I would do as a "C" student is continue to read about it.
However, it was the great set-up that grabbed me right from the start and engaged me to dig a little deeper into what this may be all about.
It started, "Very few of us can claim a love for physics. But there's a great chance many of you, like us, will warm to the subject as presented in this book. Clear writing, practical examples, and apt metaphors make a difficult subject not only comprehensible but also enlightening to the point of downright surprise."
Great start, but now I wanted them to prove it, so I read on.
Walter Lewin, a native of Holland, teaches at MIT, where his classroom lectures have received wide media acclaim. It seems the book was a way to share that experience with everyone.
The Chapter 1 excerpt featured a peek behind the curtain of Dr. Lewin, who shared that he learned to teach, while getting his PhD, by being assigned a very tough assignment - getting 16 and 17-year-olds excited about physics. Talk about a crowd that can be hard to reach, if not sometime impossible to capture attention, or engage them in any subject.
Dr. Lewin said, "I wasn't caught up in the school culture, and being in grad school, I was boiling over with enthusiasm. My goal was to impart that enthusiasm to my students to help them see the beauty all around them in a new way..." He continued, "What counts, I found, is not what you cover, but what you uncover. Covering subjects in a class can be a boring exercise, and students feel it. Uncovering the laws of psychics and making them see through the equations, on the other hand, demonstrates the process of discovery, with all its newness and excitement, and students love being part of it."
Suddenly, something that I thought had nothing to do with me or my focus of thinking about social media, had suddenly become everything about it as I continued to uncover the deeper message.
I think most people are simply looking to only cover social media.
Like a physics class, that thinking is doing just enough to meet expectations. to try and make the grade will do it.
So most companies only focus on developing or highlighting the product strengths by building a Facebook page, launching a Twitter account, or developing a mobile application.
Most will appear like a star in the social galaxy being studied by someone like Dr. Lewin for the first time without any real understanding of the deeper purpose of why it exists in the first place.
This approach is marginal and socially irrelevant.
I will uncover why in next week's conversation, and explain the real "star" power available for you.