Learners vs Knowers

by | Oct 9, 2020

The thoughts I’ve recorded here have all been inspired by the wise people I’ve met, books I’ve read, podcasts I’ve listened to, people I’m coaching and the insight they have given me. I thank them all of them for going deep to find their wisdom.

My goal is to match their generosity by sharing some brief ideas, quotes, as well as a recommendation each Friday for you to ponder.

The concepts are taken from years of daily journaling and in the moment note-taking in my Moleskine journal.


Leaners vs Knowers

Two great questions when interviewing people, to find out what makes them tick:

Question 1: “Have you ever taught yourself anything?”

Then wait for the response. If their eyes light up and they start talking about something they feel a deep passion for, however obtuse, you will learn so much about that person. You are connecting them to what they are connected to.

Question 2: “What do you want to learn next?”

You will find out whether they are a learner or a knower.

As Eddie Jones, legend Rugby coach says:

“Only recruit people who want to get better”.

Or as the late great AFL coach Allan Jeans would often say:

“You can’t put in what God took out”.


“For me, the most interesting people seem to have the bumpiest pasts. I prefer to connect with someone who has experienced the struggles, battles and casualties of life’s journey. There is beauty, wisdom, and truth to be found in the scars”.

Steve Maraboli


“Old man and the sea” by Ernest Hemingway.

It is a small book, around 100 pages, almost readable in a good session.

I first read it as a boy, not because I wanted to, but because I was required for a Year 9 English class.

I finished it. Reread it.

Ten years later, I was staying at a house over the summer break and the book was on the shelf, and I read it again.

The book had changed, but clearly, it hadn’t.

I’d changed. I was no longer a boy, I was a young man, but I’d recently taken on a serious responsibility as CEO of the Richmond Football Club.

I was overwhelmed.

I then set myself to read it every year at the same time for the next ten years.

Each time I read the book it changed. I am now married. I have now lost my father. I have now lost my job. I am now a father.

Life changes.

I’d changed.

I have gifted this book more times than I can remember, and I have included it my book offerings at my workshops with the likes of Legacy and Atomic Habits.

Recently, I listened to it on Audible. It is wonderful. Donald Sutherland narrates it.

I cried.

…and a timeless song lyric:

David Bowie – Life on Mars

It’s on America’s tortured brow

That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow

Now the workers have struck for fame

‘Cause Lennon’s on sale again

I remember being infatuated with those words, and Bowie. Still am.

Original film clip on YouTube (25 million views)

Cameron Schwab
CEO & Founder


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