“Everyone has the inner drive to learn” – Interview with Springest’s founder Ruben Timmerman

Ruben Timmerman, the founder of Springest, was recently interviewed by LOI Magazine, a major provider of higher education in the Netherlands. During the interview Ruben spoke about knowledge, and how to effectively acquire it.

“Everyone has the inner drive to learn- to go further, to reach higher, and to be better. The essence of learning is what the English have so beautifully dubbed as “deliberate practice”, i.e. to continually practise a skill at more challenging levels with the intention of mastering it.

“In this process, if you make mistake it is not the end of the world. For example, a basketball player is practicing his jump shot. If he stays in the same spot, he limits himself to one place and learns nothing. If he positions himself too far from the hoop, he will not be able to make the shot at all. The challenge lies in starting only 2 inches away from the hoop and then work your way out. Sure, you can still miss the occasional shot when you take this 2 inches challenge- ask the basketball player-, but you need to miss in order to get better and go further”.

You don’t just get opportunities, you need to spot them

According to Ruben it is particularly important to recognise and seize opportunities as they come along. “My 2 centimeter challenge was to turn Springest from an ordinary course comparison site into the ‘Amazon of Learning’. Do you notice the difference? If you always assume that you can go 2 inches furter, then you start to believe it. It is in this moment that it actually happens. You don’t get opportunities handed to you on a platter, you spot them only if you pay careful attention. You have to take a step to make something happen, and increasing your own knowledge is always a good first step to take”.

Building your knowledge

“Sure, there is a recession and there is unemployment, but we also know that there will be some seats opening up soon as a result of the baby-boomers retiring. However, they are also taking years of knowledge and experience with them. If you want one of those empty seats, then you need to build up your knowledge and skills, because you cannot force experience.  Determine what you want and how you can get there. Your knowledge is what will set you apart. Or better yet, what will make you stand out is how quickly you can gather knowledge and use it effectively. Modern technology has made it very easy to quickly find facts and knowledge. As a result, the difference between having knowledge and not having knowledge has become smaller. Your ability to quickly acquire new knowledge (and apply it) is what will make the difference for any employer”.

Other Tips from Ruben Timmerman

  • Almost half of all Dutch employees have access to a budget for personal development and further education. Make clear arrangements with your employer in your contract of employment. This will prevent any possible confusion.

  • Turn it around! Make it clear to your boss that your development is also important for the company, and not just you. If you grow, the business will grow too!