Mistakes are your friends and you learn best by doing. An easy thing to see and to act upon. There is one mistake that is not your friend though, and it is often a hard one to avoid.
Stephen Hawking points it out.
The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge
Mark Twain voiced a similar thought a century ago.
What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.
“The illusion of knowledge” “What we know for sure that just ain’t so” A treacherous problem. Knowing something that is wrong is a serious mistake, but hard to avoid. Knowing nothing is likely better. When you know nothing you still have the chance to be right by accident.
Experience is not valuable forever. Some is valuable, but the circumstances where it applies have changed and the old experience applies only narrowly now. It is unwise to trust your experience without examining the context in which it was acquired. Experience has a half life. Understand that.
Some old ideas have changed. “Buy land. They aren’t making any more of it.” makes some sense now, but not as much as it did when one family lived on a 200-acre farm. Today, that farm can house a thousand families. Population growth, proximity to work and size of families will make this calculation different in the future. For texture, if we create a space organized as we do urban centers, with houses, apartments, parks, schools, hospitals, roads and parking lots, the entire population of the earth could live in Texas.
Understand what you know and don’t. Knowledge breaks into four quadrants. You will manage each of them to avoid the problem Twain and Hawking address.
Younger people tend to take quadrant one as ideal while older people enjoy quadrant 2. The best position seems to be quadrant 2 with an awareness of 3 and 4.
Examine context and learn to apply knowledge better. Know more about yourself. Humility, openness to new things, and curiousity are your friends.
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
Please be in touch if I can help you. firstname.lastname@example.org 866-285-7772