Do you find yourself sometimes wondering about something?
Of course, we all do. But why?
When I was a child, my Dad rarely answered a question. Or rather, his answer was always the same. “Look it up.”
I was a very curious child (and I mean that in a good way) and frequently wondered why this happened or how that work.
And that evening, while I was walking around the yard with my Dad as he did his daily chores, I would ask him. I don’t know why; I knew what he would say.
Look it up.
Or, figure it out. And so I did. Every Saturday morning, he would drive me the five miles to the local library. I would get there as they opened the doors so that he could do the grocery shopping. I had a couple of hours to ‘look it up.’
So, I would start with the card catalog, applying my vast knowledge of the Dewey Decimal System to find the right books to answer my question of the week. I was too shy to ask a librarian. Finally, I would either find my answers or check out sufficient books to research it further during the week.
Fifty years ago, that’s what you did. That’s how you got the answers to whatever you were wondering about.
But not today. Today, we all carry these small devices around with us in our pockets. And most are capable of slightly more than cat videos and Candy Crush. In fact, with a little experience and effort, you can gain access to most of the accumulated knowledge of humanity.
So, why do we still wonder about things?
It never fails. I’ll be at a family gathering or a neighborhood get-together, and someone will say, “I wonder…” Whatever. And then other people will join in.
“I’ve always wondered that too.”
“Maybe, its…” Whatever.
Why do people wonder about anything anymore? Whatever the question is, you have the answer in your pocket or purse. It’s right there. As my father would say, look it up.
But very few people will do that. Even worse, with all of the factual information they have access to, they will rely on memes, clickbait, and ad-driven “news” outlets for their information.
Stop doing that.
Look it up. Don’t be ignorant and lazy. Apply your index finger to your device’s screen and open up the universe. It’s all there. Worst case, at least go to Wikipedia.
But dig a bit deeper. No matter the subject, there are well-researched sites with the answer to almost any question.
Google it. Look it up.
But don’t settle for the first thing that pops up. That’s almost certainly clickbait and Pay Per Click (PPC) sites. Dig a bit. Find those hidden gems and bookmark them. University websites are a remarkable resource.
And speaking of universities, you don’t have to wait to wonder to gain knowledge. You can take virtually any class or learn any subject on your phone or tablet. And many of them are free.
And finally, there is this secret location that can be a hub for all knowledge. You are lucky you stuck with me this far because I am about to reveal this magical place.
I first discovered it sixty years ago. It’s called the library. Only this one isn’t five miles away. It’s in your damn pocket. And not just your local library either. Every library on the planet is in your pocket.
Start with your local library. You may have to visit the brick and mortar location to sign up, but you can do it online most of the time. Then you have access to all their resources and reference material. And better than that, you have access to that librarian I was too shy to approach. Best of all, they have resources that are difficult to find or access from the general public. And many will have memberships to paid education sites like Lynda.com that you can use for free.
But don’t stop there. Research libraries in large cities. The ones with tons of branches and a huge budget. They have a lot of stuff. And many of them will allow you to get a library card for a small fee. I have a card at the Brooklyn library system, which has more eBooks than just about anybody. Plus a massive section on online learning resources, including Lynda.com. And I get all that for $50 a year.
It will take practice. After all, we have done the same thing all our lives. Some thought pops into our heads, and we wonder about it. But to me, the wonder is that anyone does that anymore. You have the answer.
It’s in your pocket.