Keep Your knowledge varied

mental health productivity Dec 06, 2023
Keep Your knowledge varied

It's very easy to keep our knowledge narrow due to how we tend to bias that which lines up with our opinions. However, this cherry-picking only keeps us stuck in the long run. Instead, aim to keep your knowledge varied and from multiple sources.

We'll be discussing the following steps to broaden your horizons:

  1. Take a look at other viewpoints
  2. See the validity of all arguments
  3. Incorporate and repeat

Look at other perspectives that exist

If you've ever been stuck on a question at school before, raise your hand. Keep it up if you were stubborn enough to not try a different method. I remember going through this kind of experience multiple times and I remember the relief of when I'd finally solve it with a different approach.

When we limit ourselves to just the perspectives in our circle, our growth and knowledge become very limited. We effectively are putting ourselves into an echo chamber.

To keep your knowledge varied, you must first be willing and able to look at other viewpoints surrounding whatever situation you're in.

I remember growing up I was discouraged from learning about other religions. I grew up in a catholic household but was always a curious kid.

I was told repeatedly that the catholic faith is the one true religion, but that didn't do anything to curb my curiosity. I had no plans to against the faith, I just wanted to know what other religions had to say.

Fast forward six years and I've now learned about other philosophies and religions and learned from their perspectives. I learned about the art of detachment by studying Buddhism and obtained a deeper understanding of masculinity and femininity from studying Hinduism.

The problem we face in the modern world is we have fewer consequences for getting into squabbles with others. We can have violent disagreements, but because they're over the internet we're never punished.

Human beings have an innate bias to accept that which lines up with us and dismiss that which doesn't. To have a wide wisdom pool, you need to learn how to turn off this bias and become curious instead.

 Keep your knowledge varied by seeing all arguments

Narrow-mindedness is something horrible to deal with. Narrow-minded people are impossible to negotiate with and get along with. They have that attitude of "my way or the highway." These people refuse to see the validity of other arguments. Please don't become like that.

Once you've started venturing out towards other perspectives, you may encounter a problem in trying to make sense of everything. This is natural, considering we grow up with knowledge and ideas handed down to us.

When things don't make much sense to us, it's very easy to dismiss them instead of making sense of them. However, this is the key step to achieving open-mindedness. 

By understanding another perspective, we broaden our view to the point that the middle path opens up. Without this willingness to see other arguments, we stagnate.

To keep our knowledge varied, we must be willing to look at the other sides and understand where they come from. This step focuses on that understanding.

When I was younger, I genuinely believed that any woman who got an abortion would go straight to hell. After all, that's what I'd been raised to believe.

As I got older, I gained more perspective on the matter and learned that there are legitimate reasons for a woman to have an abortion. Like many things in life, it wasn't as black-or-white as I had thought.

Whatever situation you find yourself in, seek first to understand then to be understood. Too many people do it the other way around and that leads to people closing themselves off.

By understanding the arguments of other perspectives, we become more peaceful and experience less stress. While it may not be easy to understand another perspective, at the same time, it's nearly impossible to get upset at something you understand.

Incorporate and repeat, use it or lose it

Knowledge is only potential power. If it's never used, it simply takes up space. This is why so many people never get anywhere: they consume and acquire knowledge, but never apply it. This can be a little challenging with outside perspectives.

If a perspective is considered to be one from the outside, it can be hard to sneak it past your friends or family members who would rather you not take a look. However, you will need to find a way to do just that. Luckily, it's not that hard.

I remember growing up that all the things I learned that I wouldn't have been allowed to learn, I learned them under my parents' noses. I did this when learning about Hinduism and Buddhism, and again when I learned about the kind of fantasies women had back in the 1950's.

I played video games that they didn't approve of late at night stress-free by doing my homework during the day, and I learned about the dark side of human psychology from books that had inconspicuous titles.

Where there's a will, there's a way. To succeed in widening your horizons, you need to find that way especially if you want to keep that new knowledge.

If, however, you cannot succeed in sneaking it past them, take the risk of saying you want this and you want to learn from it. Them finding out never goes as badly as you think. Plus, it's better to have a relationship built on a foundation of honesty.

To keep your knowledge varied, you need to incorporate the perspectives you acquire. Without this implementation, you will lose it.

We can often see what we need to do to achieve a certain result. More often than not, though, it becomes a matter of whether or not you have the strength to do it.

Your biggest enemy in acquiring new knowledge will always be yourself. It is always you who stops you from doing what must be done at the end of the day.

Keep your knowledge varied, otherwise, it becomes rigid and stale

I got this line from Avatar the Last Airbender. It comes from the character Uncle Iroh, who is a wise old man. After hearing this line once, it always stuck with me.

When we don't allow our wisdom to be tempered by the outside world, it becomes flimsy and weak. It becomes unable to handle blows from anyone other than those who accept it already.

When you keep your knowledge varied, you are strengthening your wisdom by avoiding stagnation. And when we avoid stagnation, we are truly alive.

- Karl