“Outer learning” is learning about, while “inner learning” is learning from. The former is academic, the latter apprentice learning. In terms of our spiritual journey, this is what Jesus wants. Academic learning may produce theologians who know about God, but only apprentice learning will produce people who actually come to know God: i.e., disciples. (Fr. Anthony Gittins)
I advocate that this same principle applies to our professional and personal lives as well. I look in the mirror and am overwhelmed at how much time I devote to “outer learning” — learning ABOUT people and things. While my knowledge certainly increases, there is still a distance. I realize that I am not fully engaged or completely invested. I am holding back. I am not ALL-IN.
Similarly, as leaders with the function of serving and influencing others, do we simply satisfy ourselves with learning ABOUT our employees, customers, associates, children? Or do we go deeper and learn FROM them.
If we consider “inner learning” and learning FROM people and things, I sense and experience transformation and connection. By definition, the learning is internalized and altering. And the results are different!