Knowing vs. Learning

Anyone can be on a mission to know something. It's easy to dive deep into any topic to simply gather enough information to keep up with the conversation or to take a stand on the hottest trending topic. Knowing is the easy part, learning is hard.  

Learning takes time, effort and patience. Learning can be great and frustrating as it pushes our mental boundaries and exposes us to new ideas, topics, methods and ways of life. Learning goes beyond academia and pours into real life. We've been trained that learning is simply about knowing as opposed to changing, warping and opening ourselves to what else is out there.

I used to think that once I knew something that was all there was to it. I would get to the point where I knew enough about a topic so that I could make informed decisions, or I could do that interview, or I could tell that story. And then I was on to the next thing.

What I have learned is this - to know, and then continue to learn - is far more interesting and productive then to just know something for the sake of ego. It's a trap I fell into and one I watch others fall into again and again. Sure, sometimes it's far more fun to be seen as the smartest at the party, the most intelligent on the topic, or the one who has the last word, but it's limiting.

Continuing to learn forces an ego to be put aside and to hold the tension between 'I know' and 'I don't know'.  It isn't a race to a finish line, and there isn't an finite ending. Learning breaks down barriers between 'knowing' silos and eliminates borders between what should go together and what doesn't make sense. This is where the magic happens.

Today it is a disadvantage to limit ourselves to knowing and not learning. To reaching an end point and saying 'this is enough' while missing what else could be. Instead of trying to be the smartest or quickest internet search, try slowing down and building on what you know. Learn for the sake of learning and you will be pleasantly surprised with the ideas and opportunities that come your way.