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Don't be a Know it All, Be a Learn it All

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

"In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future, while the learned find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists."

-Eric Hoffer

Read that quote again and take a minute to let it sink in.

This quote says that our success will not be determined by what we know right now, but instead what we will learn to prepare ourselves for the future.

The world is changing and for most too quickly. This quote reminds us that what we know is not as important as what we will learn. In fact, what we know may be holding us back.

Our future success will be based on our ability to learn. To learn something new and implement what we learned. In effect, to constantly grow.

Being super smart and having a bunch of facts and figures at your fingertips is great, but most "facts" are either just a Google click away or have a short half-life. Most people with a lot of facts and figures are not there because they learned something new, but they used that information to justify why they are where they are. In essences, stuck.

Today companies are starting to deeply value learning over knowing. However, in order to learn, we must be humble, curious, willing to ask questions, and, this is the hard part, able to change our minds when new facts demand a new perspective.

Learning means that we don't see ideas as part of our identity of who we are, but just something we hold for a time. Ideas are always subject to change as we search for the best truth we can find. We understand that what we know is a temporary state, and we should never assume anything we "know" is permanent and unchangeable.

True learning means we listen to other people, we get feedback, we try, we adapt, and then we repeat that process over and over, because learning never ends.

The challenges to a learner is one, we know that uncertainty is the rule, not the exception and two, which is hard, we need to be willing and able to hold many different, and sometimes contradictory, beliefs in our head at once.

True learning can be summed up by this quote from Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, “Don't be a know-it-all. Be a learn-it-all."

Once you come to grips with being a learner and not a know it all, then you will be equipped to deal with whatever the world throws at you.

Until next time…I’m Marty, make every minute count


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