Learning What You Don’t Know

I believe that knowledge represents the most powerful and constructive force on the planet; therefore, you might assume that ignorance would be weak, counterproductive, and dangerous. While ignorance may not get you far in this world, there is something far worse than lacking knowledge.

People who are aware that they don’t know much or anything about a certain topic will rarely venture into that topic. They can avoid hurting themselves or others by simply not engaging or participating in certain areas; however, people who don’t know what they don’t know can be destructive or even deadly to themselves and others around them.

Ironically, the body of knowledge continues to grow and expand.  Someone who was a world authority on a topic 20 years ago may be a dinosaur today. Unfortunately, this dinosaur can continue to bask in the glow of his reputation even though he is ignorant regarding the current state-of-the-art.

There would be no argument that during the beginning of the 20th century that the Wright brothers were on the cutting edge of aviation; however, if they were alive and on the scene today, they would be dangerous and even deadly if they continued to insist upon acting as if they were the undisputed authorities in the field.

For hundreds of years, people in the northeastern part of the United States have tapped maple trees to draw out the sap which is turned into a delectable treat we know as maple syrup. The universally-accepted procedure involved tapping the largest trees one could find near the base of the trunk—the theory being that the most sap would flow down the trunks of the largest trees. Ironically, in the last few years, it was discovered that you can tap smaller, rapidly-growing trees near the top and actually get more sap. Although it is counter intuitive and goes against the conventional wisdom, the sap in maple trees actually flows upward.

To say we know something or have mastered a certain area, at best, can only be true for a very short period of time. Knowledge is an organic process, not a static absolute. Just because you knew something then doesn’t mean you know it now. There was a time when the best scientific minds on earth agreed that the world was flat, the sun revolved around the earth, and any number of other fallacies that were accepted as fact.

Being knowledgeable is an ongoing learning process. It’s a bit like bathing. You can be up-to-date at a certain point in time, but if you don’t continue the process, it will, indeed, become obvious to everyone around you.

As you go through your day today, seek knowledge and commit to continuing the quest.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK  74145-9082; by email at Jim@JimStovall.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimstovallauthor

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