We live in the information age but ignorance has never been so prevalent. People tend to think they know a lot when they know so little. We are surrounded by so much data yet we lack the ability to interpret them all. Most people claim to be ‘professionals’ in so many areas that only few are learning. People who ought to be students want to teach people good enough to be their teachers.
To be successful, you should acquire the information relevant to your niche; you should become a lifelong student. You need to become empty to become full. Value what you already know but consider it inferior to what you need to know. Your current level of performance is equal to your current level of knowledge. You can never outperform your knowledge level. It is dangerous to celebrate a current success at the expense of the future one because today’s winning idea is tomorrow’s outdated information. Failure to reinvent is the easiest way to lose relevance.
It is good to be confident of what you know but be conscious that there is more. What you don’t seek you won’t appreciate when you find. Learning is a deliberate process. Knowledge and inspiration can be acquired even in the least likely places. For instance, when I first became fascinated by the ants and wrote my first post on the subject [See here], I expected to write only a few articles. Fourteen posts down the line, however, I’m pleasantly surprised at how much one can learn from very small things. Here are some final critical lessons from the ants:
- Things or people we underestimate are sometimes more efficient than we are. Size is not everything. We should always be willing to discover the strength of others instead of focusing on their weaknesses. What we admire in others is possibly what you need in our lives. Physical attributes may mask invaluable virtues; never be deceived by appearances.
- We should always pay attention. Who knows what else we are missing out of just as we have ignored the ants despite their valuable qualities? Wisdom is all around us.
- We must be humble enough to seek for help or information when we need it. According to Les Brown, “Ask for help, not because you are weak but because you want to remain strong”. Realising we need help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. It takes a wise person to discover the wisdom in another person. Staying empty is not sitting and doing nothing but keeping a permanent learning attitude.