I’m a slow learner. It’s rare that I fully understand things the first time I hear about it. This might even sound ridiculous, but some things I first heard about in primary school and secondary school I’m just starting to comprehend now as a middle age man. Political, social and philosophical lessons I got front teachers, family and friends. I really think that our brains work super hard on everything, all the time, in the back ground while we are busy with the stuff of life.
I had one of these moments yesterday. I was reading this article on bitcoin, which was discussing the genius behind the Blockchain method, referring to the back end complexities and how it might provide a model for a more independent peer to peer based internet. (Well, that’s what I think it was about). The point is that half way through the article, I was like – wow, most of this stuff is way over my head – it must be for smart techie head coding types. But I read it to the end. I’ll probably read it again, and I’ll read the other articles it links to inside of it….. Maybe I’ll understand it in a few years. The point is I’ll leave that to the smart parts of my brain I don’t have personal access to – the secret bits it keeps Steve outside of. I’m sure it’ll come up with something if I leave it alone.
In complex times, this is type of situation is set to become more common. Times when our initial understanding is vague. We shouldn’t let it discourage us. We shouldn’t let it make us give up and stop reading or trying to comprehend it. What we ought do instead, is trust that what we need to know will reveal itself, so long as continue to take in the data and we are patient.
With so much information abundance, it takes a certain skill in knowing what to know. Many emerging trends and changes in our economy and social structures are vital points of knowledge. We need to know them intimately, know how to use the technology and have a detailed domain expertise or we’ll miss out in a business or social context. But many things, maybe even most things, knowing about them is enough. Simply knowing it exists, that people like and engage in it, and why they like and engage in it will get us through:
- Angry birds
- Candy Crush
- Reality TV
- Most news
- Any ‘down time’ activity…
If we’re across the motivations, the technology and the sociology, then it’s highly likely we wont get caught short by not having a personal interaction with it. Unless of course, it is related to what we actually do for a living. This is the key point, knowing which domains are worth us investing our time in to understand.
In a world of infinite expansion and choice where we can’t try or participate in everything, knowing what to ignore is an art form. If it feels disposable, then it is probably not deserving of our bandwidth.