JKLTip The amount we can possibly learn is tiny, so try and focus on what is most valuable to you
What percent of all of the world’s knowledge do you think we can learn?
I used to get upset by the idea that it is impossible to learn everything in my lifetime. There was a sort of angst that would weigh on my shoulders. Almost like it was in my subconscious, but always there. I would feel saddened by the idea that we can’t slow life down.
Life moves so fast that many things we planned never materialize. Many dreams vanish before we start building them. We begin to appreciate that our “to consume later” lists of podcasts, movies and books will never be finished.
When I would stop and think about this idea, that there is so much I would like to do, so many people I would like to work with and that it’s not all possible, it would slow me down. In a counterintuitive way, almost a protective mechanism I would try even less. I think it was the thought that if we can’t do it all, then why bother when we can just relax? What it really spoke to was the notion that I was trying to hard to control what I was able to accomplish.
Think about this in the form of a question. Of all of the knowledge and skills in the universe, how much do you think we could possibly possess? It’s probably about a millionth of a percent. Of all of the information out there, it’s only possible for us to be able to learn a very, very small amount.
Figuring It Out
Coming to the realization that there is so, so, so much knowledge in the world is actually reassuring. This is not a post about legitimate data, but more of common sense thoughts about the numbers. There is so much knowledge that is possible to learn in this world, it’s almost infinite. I mean for our personal consumption capabilities, that’s exactly what it is.
Let’s look at some rough numbers, shall we? There are forty-five million books you could buy from Amazon. If you feel like learning a new language, there are over 6 thousand to choose from. If you are looking for a job, you have approximately 180 million companies to which you could apply. Needless to say, there is a lot of information and skills in the world.
It’s clear that the knowledge, skills, and theories we could possibly try to learn in our lifetime reaches infinity and beyond. Is this not the best argument for focusing our time on the most important things in life?
If we can only do a very small percentage of the possibilities that exist, so why not do the ones that bring us the greatest joy? Why not engage in learning and activities that we feel gives us the greatest meaning and use of our time in life?
* Write A Guest Post: 8 Billion People
** Read Why Just Keep Learning: JKL Post