Friday, December 11, 2015

Learn What You Don't Know

Ignorance is bliss. We rarely venture out beyond our comfort zone. We're happy being experts of our own little domain.

A lawyer should only stick to drafting documents that maketh a layman's eyes all watery after the first sentence. An accountant should only stick to churning out numbers on Excel sheets. Don't ever let the lawyer tell you how to run a business. Don't ever let an accountant organize Friday's drinks.

From school to office, we've all been programmed to be good at one thing. Such a pitiful waste. As humans, we're more than able to do much more.

We don't know what we don't know. Hence, to narrow the grey and hazy areas of ignorance, we should be constantly learning about stuff that we don't know.

The first and last time Finance ever threw a Christmas party

Chasing Certainties, Fearing the Unknown

I was once a student. And now, a worker.

The odd thing I notice about my fellow students and workers is how they're always craving for certainties. What's the correct answer? How does this thing work? When should the rule apply?

And even after they've gotten hold of certainties, they're never quite content. Instead, they're always looking out more proof to reinforce such certainties. They keep on reading books and talking to like-minded people on the same subject. Their beliefs are in perpetual need of validation. They can't move on to new ideas, as if their old ideas will escape away if they don't hold onto them tightly. For most of their lifetime, the little knowledge they have gained is recycled over and over again.

So why do people stop learning?

Fear - that's what it is. We fear the unknown. We fear stepping out of our cave to explore the world outside. We fear learning new things, less we fail to understand them.

Step Out Of The Cave

But such fear is misguided. For fear holds us back from expanding our full potential.

Study beyond your syllabus. Chart your own learning curve. Pick up inter-disciplinary skills.

So what if your usual studies and work suffer? If you only aim to ace exams and hit KPIs, you'll only be as good as what people expect you to be and grade you at. You'll never be punching above your weight. You'll always be chasing for the carrot in front of you, not the stars above you.

Elon Musk pumped a huge chunk of his savings into SpaceX without knowing much about rockets. Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod and co-drafted the US Declaration of Independence. Mark Zuckerberg studied Psychology and Computer Science in Harvard.

Step out of your cave - that's how you behold the world in all its infinite splendours.

Step into the light even if it blinds you at first - that's how you train your eyes take in all shades and hues of life.

Even IT throws better parties

Break New Ground

Stop revising knowledge you already have. Keep studying new subjects.

Stop repeating answers you already know. Keep asking new questions.

Stop digging deeper into your hole. Keep breaking new ground.

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