Just because you can quote statistics or cite a website, article, book, or post about a particular topic doesn’t make you smart or well-versed. It makes you well-read. I prefer to learn by experience or by listening to really great teachers who have been there, done that, or who have watched very carefully as an industry has grown and changed over the last fifteen to twenty years, either following and/or writing about trends and the trendsetters. I have bruised my bum sitting in endless conferences, blistered my feet trudging the aisles of some of the largest conferences/exhibit halls, and have cramped my hands while frantically taking notes or tweeting tweets.
All for the sake of learning.
We know about preventative medicine or dentistry; it’s too bad that we don’t do more for preventative ignorance. I, like most of you, work really hard to stay abreast of what is new and what has the potential to change an industry or how we do business. That doesn’t mean I think I am the smartest or most well- equipped individual (for I know I am not) but it does mean that I understand that we need to be constantly evolving and learning.
Ignorance is not bliss. I do not care what any old adage states. Ignorance is ignorance. Being unaware, staying in the dark, or closing your eyes to potential other truths retards the growth necessary for active brain activity and regeneration. And sometimes, you just need to speak up, even though you may not be in tune with the message, just to hear your thoughts out loud and recognize that maybe you were a little off course, re-think and re-direct.
“It’s all good.”
It is often taught that when you are trying to learn a song, you must either sing or play out loud and strong, so that you know when you miss the mark. If you can’t hear the mistake, then you can’t correct it. I think it was Mark Twain who said, “It is better to be silent and thought a fool, then to speak out and remove all doubt.” I don’t necessarily agree, for open dialogue is healthy but only if it is open, with rational willingness to hear the other side or in some cases, all sides.
It’s like when the cord of an appliance gets wrapped up and twisted so tightly that you cannot untangle it and the appliance is no longer useful because the cord has actually choked it. Beating into submission, into compliance doesn’t breed followers, it creates contempt and rebellion. Watch Star Wars or read Atlas Shrugged. Squashing creativity and openness will only deepen the desire to create and be willful.
“That which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, and that which you call ‘free will’ is your mind’s freedom to think or not, the only will you have, your only freedom, the choice that controls all the choices you make and determines your life and your character.” ~Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged