The theme of my blog is: Learning for a lifetime. I chose it mainly to encourage people to remain hungry for knowledge, new ideas and new useful and relevant information which they can use to improve the quality of their lives and those around them.
It demands that we learn the habit of emptying ourselves of what is no longer relevant and useful to be filled with what is most important at that moment in time.
During this time of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic which is threatening almost all areas of our lives, we are being exposed to an avalanche of information. I must admit that as a scientist and an avid reader, I have never been bombarded with so much information about a single subject in a short space of time! The COVID-19 respiratory disease has been with us since late December 2019!
Patricia Wentworth (1878-1961) a British fiction writer, once said : “ Too much information can be as disconcerting as too little.”
Gunther Grass(1927-2015) a German author, said: “ The great volume of information dissolves the information. We are unable to take it all in.”
Due to the availability of the Internet which allows us to collect data, analyse and share it instantly and freely , a lot of facts and science about the COVID -19 disease are being generated daily from credible and helpful agencies like the World Health Organisation ( WHO) and the Ministries of health in our countries. At the same time, individuals are churning up information and sharing it on Social Media. A lot of this is not scientifically proven information and may cause panic and hysteria in the population. Thankfully, some Online social networking websites like Facebook have risen to the challenge of availing the facts and keeping them up-to-date for its users, to stop rumours and misinformation. Wherever we are, each one of us has the great responsibility as well to learn and understand more about COVD-19 Disease with the aim of protecting oneself and others and to stop spreading rumours. The more we understand, the better the response. When you know, you act better.
Against this backdrop of a COVID-19 disease information overload, I have chosen to repost one article that I wrote on 17th September 2018. It is entitled: The Gift of Knowing That You Do Not Know Everything.
Arguably no one is perfect and no one can know everything.
Knowledge changes fast and this demands that we keep abreast by being willing to learn every day.
We first learn things from those around us and then join the formal education in schools, colleges and universities. We also learn about the world around us through what we go through.
Knowledge is not meant to be contained but it should be used to act better: make better informed decisions in life, applied to improve our own lives and other people’s lives. In such situations, then knowledge is real power. Since new knowledge keeps coming up or old knowledge becomes outmoded, to enhance our understanding of the world around us and improve the quality of our lives; learning should be a lifelong job. When you know you act better and your confidence and self-esteem is boosted. I seek knowledge every day for both personal and professional development.
I find it extremely exciting to be alive and active during this science and technology –driven 21st century where things change often and very fast too. It demands that I remain an apprentice in how to live a full life, for life if I am to remain relevant and useful. I would be my worst enemy if I took myself to know so much that I do not need to learn anything new.
Socrates, the classical Greek philosopher and one of the founders of western philosophy said: “True Knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.’’
He also said: “I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing.”
Jim Rohn an Entrepreneur also says that : “ You cannot learn until you know that you do not know and seek for the knowledge.’’
When you know that you do not know, you seek to know. You humble yourself and open up your mind and heart to learn new things. When you learn things and understand then you grow.
There are learning tasks for each stage of our lives.
I have come a long way from the naïve and inexperienced young woman to the sage – searching for the reality behind appearances, decoding clues and solving the underlying riddle of existence. It would not surprise me if soon I started speaking in riddles and parables!
Ken Keyes says: “Everyone and everything around you is your teacher.’’
In my quest for knowledge I have learned from the simple child, the youth, my peers and the elderly around me. I have also been able to learn from the plants, birds and animals around me. I am able to do this only when I open myself up and I am willing to learn. It is the only way to keep abreast of change.
It all starts by accepting that as a human being, I can never know everything. This is the actual gift which frees my mind to learn more. Depending on the situation, I can learn new things, relearn old but relevant things or unlearn outmoded and irrelevant things. The only thing that can limit me is myself.
I can never thank my parents enough for helping me to develop a passion for learning and encouraging me to do things by myself. They opened up a world of wonder for me and I am doing the same for my children and those around me.
Someone somewhere said that anyone who stops learning whatever the age, is as good as dead. I won’t allow this to happen to me; I have declared myself a student for life and would love to recruit you too.
The simplest way to start on this journey is to turn yourself into an aggressive reader of books. Books feed your mind and turn you into a sharp thinker and help you to live a balanced life; having learned and grown from other people’s disappointments, failures and triumphs.
How are you coping with the COVID-19 Disease information overload?
Are you drowning in it? If not, how are you able to sustain your attention?