When I look for inspiration in how to start a blog post it’s amazing how many times I come back to one of the sayings my family have used over the years. I imagine that’s not untypical.
So, a classic from my mum this time…….. “it’s not what you know, but who you know.”

Now it doesn’t take Einstein to work out this must be about knowledge and knowing the people who can ‘tap it’ in the right place.

I studied languages at school; French and German, and I can get by on my summer holidays. I try to use them when I can. I use what I learnt. I studied surveying at university and learned how to navigate using the sun and the stars which was useful when in a surveying job in the middle of the Syrian Desert. I used what I learnt.

I once changed the cylinder head gasket on my first car and if I’d had the right tools to tighten the bolts back up evenly, it would have been a top job. I’d read a book on how to do it and used what I learnt. What I really learnt the hard way was having the right tools as well as the knowledge was crucial.

I’ve accumulated a fair bit of knowledge over the years. But there is so much more I don’t know, and could never know.

A few years ago I joined a gym, had the free intro session, used some of the apparatus, the swimming pool and steam room regularly.  I lost 8lb dead easy. But then I overheard someone saying the gym was only 20% of getting it right, the other 80% was about what you ate. I knew I could use the gym for the 20%, but didn’t know where to start with the other 80%. So I tried a personal trainer.

This was the best investment I have made in a long while. I wanted to learn about food, what to eat, when to eat and how to eat. Then, how to exercise that was right for me and my few niggling war wounds.

I put my trust in someone who said they could change my life in three months.

I learnt that BMI and calories are not the be all and end all. I also learnt my visceral fat (the fat around my internal organs) was quite high. That scared me. I learnt about food labels and nutrition and why regularly eating a bowl of cereal after 8pm is a dumb thing to do. There was me thinking as it was better than a slab of cake it was ok! I learnt about the need to balance cardio exercise with resistance exercise and to drink water regularly.

I know I can still eat stuff like chocolate and chips and drink beer and occasionally eat late at night and go to the gym once a week. But I know that it’s less effective than it could be. And I’m one stone lighter and haven’t had a headache in ages and my visceral fat reduced. I feel so much better.

Okay, so on this occasion I had to pay for the knowledge but it highlights my point.

I’m generally happy with what I know but I’m also happy that the stuff I don’t yet know can be so important. I learned it’s good to trust and that we need to make the effort to network with others who may have the knowledge and skills we don’t. Similarly that we need to be prepared to give time and share our knowledge and contacts in return.