Seek To Understand
May 6, 2021
One of the basic tenets of life that I subscribe to in a big way is about making an effort to understand the world around us- how the systems work, how the people operate, organizations and nations function.
Looking back, I have realized that none of these elements I learned through any form of formal education. School and College education was merely to get a degree. Real understanding of the world came from elsewhere-from working, from meeting people, from traveling, and from reading books. Over the years, Internet has gotten added to this list. Today you can pretty much learn anything about everything from the Net.
Knowing what I know today, I make it a point to remind my kids that getting good grades does not make one intelligent and competent. Yes, passing the exams and scoring the best grades is important. But, there is something more important all of us must take individual responsibility for and aspire for.
We must all seek to understand.
- Why people behave the way, they do. What are the underlying motivations, desires, and biases?
- How do banks & businesses function?
- History of mankind and how we have evolved as a species.
- Philosophy and ethics.
- How does an economy function? Concepts of Demand and Supply and how government policies impact the prices etc.
The more we understand these ideas, the better we become at figuring out how the real world functions.
In this era where any sort of information is available at the click of a button, it is very easy to suffer from an illusion of competence where we mistake feeling informed with understanding. We may know a lot but understand very little.
Albert Einstein is supposed to have said this- Any fool can know. The point is to understand.
So, don’t take anything at face value. Be curious, ask questions, seek to understand. The more you understand, the better you become at dealing with what life serves you.