Due-date came and went (well, technically, since I write the next day’s entry the night before – at the time of writing we’ve got about 5hrs of due-date left). Not too big of a surprise, since “they” say most 1st-time moms are late – but it does make the itch of waiting that much more acute. But, wait we will.
Ready for me to flex some advice on ya? Here’s a little thing I’ve transformed from common-sense into words, just for the sake of filling a blog. It’s something I do subconsciously at work and elsewhere – and I think it’s had a big impact on how much “wisdom” I’ve viewed as having. I’ve written about it before, but never really formalized the thought as well as I did today for someone at work (which made me want to write it down in that form, to remember it better). Here goes:
Knowledge is binary: You either know something, or you don’t. Despite the apparently grim coin-toss odds, you can do something extremely simple to give yourself an edge over the average body.
To break it down a bit: When someone asks you a question, there’s 50% chance you’ll know the answer, and a 50% chance you won’t. If you know the answer, you look good; if you don’t, there’s potential for you to look bad. But, people, I’m here to tell you’re wasting 50% of your brain on stuff you don’t know, when it could be put to much better use. How? #1: Fill it with knowledge of the stuff you don’t know, i.e. learn. #1 requires significant effort on your part, and isn’t as easy or intuitive as #2. #2: Fill it with a list; a list of people you know, and, more importantly, the things those people know. That way, instead of being helpless when a question falls into your “I dunno” category (50% of the time), you can reference your list of “what the people I know know” as a backup. Sure, you may not be able to answer the question on the spot, but maybe all it requires is a discreet 30sec phone call, or an e-mail.
The goal here is not to pull a “who’s that man behind the curtain” bit, convincing others you’re a sage when you’re just a good networker pilfering others’ wisdom. You’re not taking credit for answers you got from someone else, you credit them when you need to. On the other side of coin, when you run a question you don’t know by someone and get an answer, playing the middle-man between asker and knower – you’ve just added that answer to your arsenal, your repertoire. In essence, you just moved it from the “bad 50%” to the “good 50%” in your brain. Congratulations, you’re now smarter because of who you know. And, next time you get that question – you can produce an answer on the spot.
Part of the reason I like the internet, and projects like Wikipedia, is because they embody this idea of communal knowledge. A central repository of shared knowledge, everyone getting smarter from what everyone else knows – the slow infusion of little fractured pieces of knowledge to the masses, to be used and possessed and improved upon by all. In my previous entry I put it like this, “…strive to know where knowledge is – even if it’s not in your own head.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, or something.
The other day I somehow found myself looking for an old entry to reference in one I was writing, and I ended up re-reading this one from July of last year. And, far from the usual feeling of ho-hum I get when I peruse my past writings, this time I was actually impressed. I really like that entry, and wish I could write more like it. The style is engaging, and I like the detail. Also on the “me” tip, I found the comment Pat attached to this picture of me from a past camping trip pee-your-pants funny. Oh… wait… right there… that’s it… almost… yeah! Sorry, my ego just had an orgasm.
Where are you Keaton? You don’t love us enough to come out? We’re ready, and I think we’ve been waiting pretty patiently – so why do you keep standing us up? Goodnight.