It feels good when we know something. How to fix drywall or change a tire. When we understand how to play chess or can excel at winning a video game.
All of us go to school for many years to gain knowledge. After that, we use the Internet as well as other ways to learn new things in depth or learn directly on the job. What we find is that as we learn more, we can do more which then makes some things easier for us to do. Allowing us to expand our world from within into opportunities we never thought were possible.
If new knowledge is so beneficial, when can new knowledge be dangerous? When we believe our knowledge is complete. When it leads us to say “I know” we stop listening. Or when we mistakenly think that because we know we have already done something when in reality we have not.
Another way that knowledge can be dangerous is when we apply what we know in the wrong way. Emphasizing things that are not important in your current situation. Or when we simply try to prove we are better than someone else to boost our ego.
Knowledge by itself has little value. You need to apply knowledge for its value to be revealed. When we apply knowledge in ways that consistently improve our results or outcomes.
Applying knowledge in life is an iterative process. With starts and stops. Trial and error. This iterative process and setbacks help reveal the missing gaps in the knowledge we have. Asking us to learn more to move forward. Experiencing these ups and downs helps us begin to understand why it never is a good thing to say in a demanding way that “I know” and to stop listening.
The amazing thing about acquiring new knowledge is that it can be found everywhere. From our next conversation. A new person we meet. Random discussions in a hallway. From our grandchildren or our parents. Book or podcast. A book we picked up at the airport. What new knowledge demands is some level of immersion. Not a brief second from a social media post but needs more interaction and reflection to internalize what we are exposed to.
One property of knowledge acquisition is the need for it never stops at any point in our lives. There is always more to learn. Which leads us to there are always more things we can do. Forever keeping us young as we age.
Becoming better at something, as in building a new skill, is where we take new knowledge and practice using it over and over. Improving our pattern recognition while minimizing our hesitation when applying new knowledge makes more and more things easier for us to do and accomplish over time.
Seeking new knowledge is a great starting point for personal change. Knowing its limitations and misapplications can prevent us from spinning our wheels when change and personal growth are very important for us to experience directly at this time in our lives.