Post No.: 0015
Wise people understand that there is so much that they do not know, and much of what they do know may turn out to be incorrect or outdated – so we should never stop learning. Remain a learner for life! ‘Luck’ is also often said to be what happens when preparation meets opportunity too i.e. a head full of knowledge is armed and ready to notice and take advantage of opportunities when they arise – opportunities that others who know less may not ever notice at all.
Education allows one to know what to do in more situations, to be able to do and fix things for oneself thus feel more independent, it protects one from being exploited by those who want to unfairly profit from oneself, it allows one to work more efficiently and therefore be less stressed, it enables one to be more adaptable, it of course helps one to get a job or start an entrepreneurial venture, it increases empathy and understanding between people, it helps one to help others better as well as oneself in a practical sense, it increases ‘mechanical sympathy’ (learning about how something fundamentally works will enable you to use it better e.g. learning about how suspensions and gearboxes work will help you to become a better driver), it reduces fears of the unknown because obviously fewer things will be left unknown, and it ultimately makes one feel more confident and calmer about life as a whole and when faced with whatever subjects one has specifically learnt about. One person cannot ever possibly get to learn everything in the world, and one person cannot be interested in learning everything there is in the world – but virtually every piece of knowledge adds to one’s total quality of life.
To have a successful career, one only needs to know and be good at one narrow thing, but learning a wide variety of subjects will help you to understand better how the world really works and will allow you to be a more rounded and informed person (which is important for citizens in a democracy, as well as for consumers in a free market). When we work in teams – leaders should ideally have a broad and diverse range of knowledge to keep the overall vision in line, and be able to empathise and communicate well with all departments they are responsible for.
Creativity is arguably about being able to bring seemingly unrelated concepts together in a useful way, thus possessing a diverse set of knowledge puts one in a better situation to discover new ideas and paradigm shifts. Some careers are short too or one might fancy a change one day, especially when people are on average living longer than the generations before. And robots and computers are typically far more efficient at doing narrowly-defined tasks so your job is at risk if you only offer a narrow set of skills.
Ironically, the more you learn, the more you learn how little you actually know (even how little humankind as a whole yet actually knows), or the more you learn how much there is yet to know – whereas a person who thinks he/she already knows it all will think he/she no longer needs to listen to others or learn anything more. But this arrogant attitude means these people actually learn and know the least – thus there can be an inverse correlation between thinking one knows a lot and actually knowing a lot. The most cocksure people in the world are thus frequently the most incorrect. Hence it’s not a bad thing to feel that you have more questions than answers because that’s where the entire human race is currently at as a whole, never mind any single individual.
And knowledge and wisdom is something that money (beyond needing a few materials and opportunities) cannot buy because the investment is really paid for via your own time and efforts. Woof!
So life-long learners never think they know it all hence will continue learning for life and will learn more than those who think there’s nothing important left to learn. There will always be more to learn (e.g. things that will reinforce, add to, amend or even overturn previous comprehensions of subjects, issues or even theories) because the human knowledge pool is always expanding. Thus even if you are truly currently the smartest person in the world – don’t ever think you know it all.
Furrywisepuppy has studied over 120 MOOCs (massive open online courses), and counting, on a wide range of subjects, on top of a standard university education. Despite this, I will never think I know enough, or even necessarily more than you.
I recommend the edX, Coursera, FutureLearn and Udacity online course platforms, but other platforms are available too – offering both free and paid courses, lasting in general between 4 to 16 weeks each, self-paced or scheduled, covering a vast array of subjects. If you already have a computer and a workable Internet connection (which I assume you do because you’re reading this!) then these are your furry opportunities virtually wherever you live in the world. To me they’re like toyshops! I thank these platforms, these courses, their creators, teaching staff and other students for expanding the awe of life, this world and the universe for me. And I’m optimistic they will for you too if you haven’t yet tried them!