Sunday, May 29, 2011

Power Principle #2

Knowledge is Power.
Ignorant men (and women) are rarely aware of the fullest extent of their own influence. They are also unaware of the contributions of others, and how those contributions can benefit their own lives. 
If you were to see a baby crawling toward a fire, what would your response be? Stop the baby, so it would not be burned? Yell and scare the baby, hoping it would never go toward another fire again? One tribe would simply watch as the baby's fingers touched the flames, or the rocks near them. The baby would get a minor burn, yes, but it would learn, absolutely, what those flames could do. And no, I am not advocating burning infants to teach them the dangers of fire. I am advocating learning where we can.
If you want to be able to succeed in this world, not only must you be educated, you must also be informed. There are many people who are making money without having received a college education (or in some situations, even a high school education), but every one of these people researches their options, and finds out as much as possible about the factors leading up to their success. And every one of them stays educated--or informed--about as much as possible. 
Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy's restaurants had not graduated high school when he started working for Colonel Sanders in his KFC business. But her learned all he could about the business. One of the things he learned is that by working for the Col. he would not be leaving a legacy for his daughter. So, he started his own business, and became very successful. And what did he do after making his company the giant is is today? He went back and finished high school, even going so far as to pay for the graduation party for his classmates!
Even teachers and professors attend what is called "Professional Development Conferences" to better themselves and their teaching. If the people who are on the front lines of education feel it necessary to continue learning, perhaps everyone else should at least give it a chance.
By learning more, you open up a world of opportunities. You give yourself the tools that can help you make--well, there is no other way to say it--"educated decisions." By refusing to learn, you risk not only stagnating, but reversing your circumstances. You are more likely to lose money, lose time, and lose out on opportunities.
Do not assume that current media practices will keep you informed about the issues surrounding you. The people who run the different media organizations stay informed about all issues. Then they relay the information they want you to know. If you simply rely on their slanted reports, you may never know how much you don't know. You will believe that you are informed on the issues, while remaining as ignorant as the truly informed people want you to be.

One danger in our world is the attitude of "Why can't you let me make my own mistakes!" Only the truly ignorant would wish to not learn from those who went before. I do not need to stick my hand in a shark's mouth to know for myself whether or not that is a bad idea. I myself once slammed my finger in a car door. Should my children perform this mistake simply so they don't have to rely on my experience? Of course not. Then why do so many people insist on the Freedom of Stupidity?
Another point to consider is the Tabula Rasa condition. This is the Blank Slate student. They soak in every word as though it were Gospel. Don't accept everything you hear at face value. Even professors may miss some information, or even skim past it due to time restraints, with the hope that you will actually read up on the research. 
There is a character in a Shakespeare play who exhibits an undesirable attribute with regards to learning. He name is Ophelia. Her father Polonius asks her if she believes Hamlet's sincerity. She answers, "I do not know, my lord, what I should think." He tells her he will teach her, and to think of herself as a baby. This basic relationship has been named, the "Ophelia Syndrome." 

In essence, you should not go into an educational experience as a completely empty vessel, waiting to be filled, but as a full being, expecting to increase understanding. Far too many students do not have the foundational knowledge necessary to actually LEARN from their professors. Instead, they memorize as many facts as possible in an attempt to pass the exams. Every one of these professors would prefer a room full of well-informed thinkers instead of vacant automatons. When you can communicate with those who teach you, you can grow more than even they would hope.
So stay in school. Go to college. Earn a degree. Keep learning. When you stop learning, it's because you're dead.
Knowledge is Power.


  1. Great thoughts here. One trick of learning in today's world is to learn how to weed through all the garbage and propaganda being fed to us daily through the media. I didn't get through years of education to be duped by media bias or Hollywood memes. And I expect every one of my students to throw off the idiocies of that media.

    Not all of them make it....