I used to fool myself into thinking I needed to know everything, before beginning on everything. That that person who I saw as successful, who was on stage speaking, or on a panel offering his opinion, or online writing an article, somehow knew more than me and was better placed than I was – and more worthy – of offering their views. That, even though I know intuitively that all opinions are just that, no matter which “experts” they may come from, somehow those individuals have some sort of magical-know-how, more “experience” and therefore know what they’re talking about (especially when they say what they say or write what they write with a sense of conviction – which is often there, to the outsider looking in at least; though not always on the inside).
I say “used to” as if this has now completely passed; it hasn’t, but I have been managing to keep it more at bay, to step back and look at the situation objectively, as I am now, and not to let my brains and emotions (“chimp chatter”) take hold and control over me.
They say your biggest strengths are also your biggest weaknesses. In my top-5 list of “Gallup strengths”, I have Input, Learner and Intellection – all of which allude to taking in a whole bunch of information and enjoying letting it simmer and trying to make sense of it all. They certainly are strengths, and I wasn’t surprised with the results – I love to learn and I love to read, and I have interests in so many different things. However, taken to the extreme it means I crave more and more information, in order to form what I perceive to be “better” and “more valid” conclusions; a dangerous cycle as, whilst it leads me to keep bettering myself and being open to knowledge-gathering (I can’t see it any other way, seeing as it really is my natural disposition to learn and wish to take things in), it also means I keep chasing those magical conclusion, those magical insights. Those answers which will make me feel legitimate and valid and as if I can take to the physical stage, or perhaps to a metaphorical stage (like this one) and offer my opinions.
The fact is that even those “experts” who you see talking with conviction, and with all of those followers on their blogs or social media profiles, are really just offering their perspectives – based on their own limited knowledge-gathering. I say limited because it can never be unlimited…
What you know now is enough. Especially so if you have a tendency to spend time learning and inputting, and have thus accrued hours, days, even weeks of doing that in your lifetime already.
But even if you haven’t, even if you’re just starting from the beginning. You still have lived experience, your own perspectives, which equal or can even be of more value than what you read about from others.
Ironically, when I was in primary school, and to go and learn it either had to be through borrowing/buying a book, or by putting Encarta or Brittanica into the CD-ROM (remember those?!) and finding out about whatever it is you wanted to find out about.
Today, the blessing and the curse is that we have the internet. The blessing being is that we have information at our fingertips, and from so so so many different sources. The curse being just that. Information there, at out fingertips, for us to get sucked in, to want more and more, there and then. To distract us and fool us from thinking that we “know enough”.
You enough now to get started on that thing. So for goodness’ sake stop reading. Stop thinking. And get to doing. You’ll be glad you did. And it might get you onto that stage. You might just change the world.