Learn and discover how stupid you are.
There is something wonderfully liberating when you realise how utterly stupid you are.
Luckily for me, these sorts of epiphanies happen regularly.
From reading an incisive and articulate blog that I wish I’d written, through to listening to a great orator talk about a subject I thought I understood. The opportunity for discovering how little I know is frequent and welcome.
It’s why I place such a high emphasis on learning throughout life. I couldn’t care less whether this is mastering pottery, deciphering philosophy or exploring AI.
The key is to keep feeding the brain with information in the hope that some of it may stick.
It’s also filling the creative reservoir. The most creative ideas I have encountered have been extracted and forged from a piece of seemingly pointless information or experience that lurked somewhere within someone’s mind-palace. Continually learning gives you the opportunity to be creative. Note, it doesn’t make you creative, it only increases your chances that you might be at any given moment.
Beyond creativity, acquiring knowledge allows you to enjoy that marvellous moment when you seem like the smartest in the room at a glib dinner party in Epsom. It keeps you at speed with the industry you work in and makes the chat marginally more interesting while waiting for the Gruffalo ride at Chessington World of Adventures.
Like with all self-improvement, the key to better learning is consistency and clarity. Write down what you want to learn. Books you want to read. Documentaries you want to watch. Plays you want to see. Experiences you want to have. Speakers you wish to hear.
Scribbling these down allows you to develop a curriculum.
Then all you need is a timetable.
Setting aside chunks of time every week for learning is crucial. Of course, you’ll top this up with ad-hoc bits of information that come your way, but setting yourself time to do things purely for the goal of gaining knowledge will make you a better learner.
Socrates once said, “true knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.”
Give yourself every opportunity to know how feeble-minded you are.