Thursday, September 30, 2010

What Is Worth Knowing?

You know how it is some days when you log on to the Internet and there are stories everywhere about some over-hyped event or non-event or celebrity thing? Just think how much better off we would be if the media would simply focus on something else. I feel that media attention is often so ephemeral and geared toward short attention spans that it draws our attention away from things that really would benefit from more attention. Something or someone who seemed to take on proportions of incredible importance just a couple of weeks ago will not even be a footnote by the end of the year. And we see this cycle repeated over and over again.

Years ago, in one of his books Dr. Andrew Weil suggested as one of his steps to optimum health not only changing what you eat and getting regular exercise, but also fasting from the news. He did not advocate the news fast for forever, but for a period of time. The purpose of such a suggestion would be to allow a person to focus on being more conscious of what they are doing and also to reduce stress.

Knowledge can be first hand or second hand. First hand means that you actually know something to be true because you have experience with it. Second hand knowledge is when you know something is true because lots of other reliable sources agree on something and it agrees with other second hand knowledge, like knowing someone else who has been there and done that.

Most people develop a strong preference for first hand knowledge as they continue on down their path. Information that has been tempered by experience becomes far more valuable as we go on. It is one way of keeping your head on when you sometimes feel that you are drowning in a sea of information, most of it irrelevant.

Back to the Andrew Weil example. If we are paying attention to what we do, if we are changing our eating, exercise or peace of mind habits and we are noticing changes in our body, that is real knowledge that is coming to us.

If we are interested in learning more about a subject and we study or practice in that area every day, we are again acquiring first hand knowledge, experiencing breakthroughs, weaving that knowledge into our life.

If we are busy trying new ways to build our business, we are acquiring first hand knowledge of what works and what doesn't.

Acquiring knowledge is part of living. We all do it. As we follow our path and heed that which calls to us, that which makes our heart sing, discerning which knowledge is worth acquiring becomes more important. Do you find yourself increasingly aware of that? I know I do.

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