More than any other time in History,we live in an era of knowledge & information.If you are reading this from a square object,somewhere in South Africa imagine explaining to someone in 1950 that you are reading something not off a piece of paper but written a few hours ago by someone in the UK. I am not that old(I find myself saying this a lot these days) but I can vividly remember in the not so distant past queuing up outside a phone booth to make calls to the United States. Today I can make that same call with just a tap at any time of the day from anywhere on the world lying in my bed.
If you know me or even follow me on social media you would have gathered that I am a knowledge/information junkie. I am very inquisitive and one of the things that really sets me alight is learning something that I did not know. As a child, my mum used to jokingly me call eke ibidun ( Yoruba word for a busy body ) as i always wanted to know things that were far above my pay and age grade.
I think there is a sub conscious part of me that just likes to know something about everything .I have to do a lot of work on myself to make sure that there is a balance between learning for the sake of growing and the natural fleshy desire to want to appear ‘knowledgeable’. There is a difference but that’s an entirely different topic for another blog post/day.
Yesterday, I discovered a new short cut on a Microsoft office programme and you should have seen how excited I was about.I don’t know how many Intermediate E- learning courses I have gone through and it never stuck but a quick google search where I followed a step by step guide and applied the knowledge as i went along . What also stuck in my mind was that it created the value that i needed it to right when I needed it far more than all those excruciatingly painful e-courses.( not that e courses don’t also have their place). The key thing for me here was the application of the knowledge gained.
This got me thinking about the many mediums that we have access to and sometimes invest in to gain knowledge today .Books,podcasts,e- learning courses,coaching programmes,mentoring schemes workshops,seminars,conferences,networking events etc. I was discussing with a friend recently and we spoke about how the whole conference, speaking etc circuit has exploded in the last couple of years. If I wanted to attend some sort of personal development event every weekend till the end of the year,it was possible as there is always one event being organised by someone about something that interests me in London. You only need to look on Eventbrite. Multiply that number with all of the major cities in the world and what you get is a massive amount of events.
There are literally thousands of these resources out there in almost any area of interest that you can think of.Thousands. And as I tend to do a self reflection in matters like these I asked myself ;’ Oyinda how much of the knowledge that you consume do you actually apply?’ I listen to no less than 8 or 10 podcasts a week, read about 24 books this year and have attended a fair share of personal development courses/events this year already. This is not to brag or anything but just an assessment of what i can say i have ‘learnt’ in comparison to what i have actually ‘done’.
Of course I know that it’s almost impossible to apply every piece of knowledge that you acquire in the literal sense of it .I don’t think I have ever needed to dissect a frog in all my life even though it was one of our first introductions to science in Junior secondary school. I also do apply quite a number of things i learn to various aspects of my life. I must also state that i absolutely think that being a life long learner is the only way to grow and evolve.
However that introspection lead to me thinking about the huge number of learning resources i have devoured this year and the percentage of what i had actually implemented or applied paled in comparison.So while i agree that is impossible to apply all you know, i do think there is something to be said for having some structure to how you acquire knowledge and applying what you have learnt.
I can’t remember where and who by but I came across this saying and it really resonated with me in relation to this topic;
Information is not knowledge, and knowledge is not wisdom
This means that it is possible to have all the information readily available to you and still not have the required knowledge. Going even further it recognises that knowledge without wisdom is not really profitable.Like most things in life there has to be the decision to go for what is essential and this is where wisdom plays a very important part.Is it wise for me to be enrolled on so many e learning courses at the same time while not even applying what i have learnt? Or is it wiser for me enrol for one, apply the knowledge gained, practise and hone that particular skill before moving to the next one?
I listened to a podcast talked about how to maximise the most of mentoring relationships and it asked a really pertinent question; Why do you need a mentor? What do you hope to learn? What is the skill gap or knowledge you hope to gain from the mentoring relationship ? e.g. I want to get better at creative writing so i look for someone who has written a novel to mentor me and gain insight on how to be a better writer.Or are you just getting a mentor because a) it’s the ‘IN’ thing for everyone b) they are popular and cool and c) saying this person is ‘ my mentor’ gives me a certain credibility
Are you reading books like of ‘Art of War’ when you have not even decided if or what war you are fighting? Do you really need to read 10 books for knowledge on personal finance and budgeting? Or is it wiser to actually just apply some of the knowledge gained from the first book by maybe starting with just the basics of having a budget at all in the first place?
Are you attending every career conference/workshop/networking event without some sort of understanding of what sort of career you want? Have you even applied or tried some of the points you took down from the first 3 conferences you attended? Were you even sure about what you hoped to gain or did you just see it as an opportunity to ‘network’?
Are you following and reading every fitness article, gotten 3 personal trainers and 7 nutrition coaches in the last 3 years? Are you even clear about the reason why you need to live a healthy lifestyle? Did you consistently apply the knowledge you gained from the e-book and meal plan from you got from the 1st coach? Or did you automatically default to another coach who probably knows more?
The questions above are things that I pondered on as I scrolled through Instagram and the millions of images and captions that float across our consciousness daily.
Maybe we just need to apply more focus. I am a multi passionate person but maybe instead of wanting to learn it all at once, i could learn to truly sift through what knowledge is essential for this season. Like i have noted in previous blog post, maybe true knowledge is the ability to discern what needs to be known at each particular time and devoting oneself to it. Maybe we need to worry less about what we know and more about how we can use what we know to serve us and others. Don’t just seek for more knowledge ,Apply the knowledge you already have!
As usual thank you so much for reading and hope you have a lovely week ahead.
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