Got a visit from The Grasshopper last night. He said,
“What you know pales in comparison to what you have access to.”
I had to let this one settle in. After some quiet reflection, my sense is it’s about internal resources.
Reminds me of a story . . .
We have a quaint old library in the town where I live. It’s not the big, main library but a regional one that’s been around since the turn of a couple of centuries. It’s quite the experience to go in there and soak up all the history and charm and browse the books and services they have to offer. Size and budget keeps its resources at a level lower than the main library but it has a feel you’ll never get in a big modern building.
The same is true about what we know. It’s personal, unique and has a familiar feel. After all, nobody has the exact collection you contain but you.
The difficulty develops when we limit ourselves by what we know. We may evaluate our own personal collection of knowledge and find that others have quite a bit more on hand than we do. We may label them superior. We may think that we have the upper hand in the area of knowledge and label others with less as inferior. The truth is there will always be someone who is smarter/dumber and more or less knowledgeable than we are.
Enter the great equalizer for all – access.
Every public library has the capacity to order a book not on its shelves. And most of them have computers to search the world for useful information that may not be in book form. You also have access to a much bigger database, but you may lack the mindset to find it or use it. That’s called being stuck in your ways.
If all you want to do is browse the limited amount of books in your personal library, you will be going over the same information again and again. You may be hesitant to use the computer to do a wider search on what you’re looking for because it’s unfamiliar to you. You will remain impoverished if you have anachronistic tendencies and refuse to branch out. What you remain stuck with is a label that glues you in place.
It’s not always the best and brightest that bring stellar results. If you need an example, look what the geniuses of Wall Street have delivered recently.
The person who pokes past their collected knowledge and mines their internal resources is on the fast track to discovery. What they will discover is that knowledge is limiting. There is only so much of it we can retain, depending on the size of our library. If we determine that’s all there is, we miss the opportunity to grow.
To gain access to our unlimited, internal resources, we have to let go of what we know. It’s the first step.
There’s an old expression about financial resources that explains the comparison between knowledge and internal resources. When comparing their financial holdings, one person says to the other, “If I had your money, I would burn mine.”
When you gain access to your internal resources, your knowledge compared to your wisdom begins to pale by comparison.
You do have access to internal resources. The only question you need to ask yourself is, “Am I brave enough to let go of what I know?”
What could you find out if you weren’t hampered by what you know? Lots!
Here’s a challenge. Find something you know that’s in cement. Chisel it out and set it aside. It will be there if you need it. Now get curious about what you can find out without having what you know be foundational. It may feel like taking a rock to a knife fight at first but it gets easier the more we practice.
Give yourself some quiet time where you can experience the deep reflection of not having to know anything. I like to call this time what Longfellow referred to “a pause in the day’s occupations.” Out of this “pause” comes insight – something you would never find in a book.
To get there you only need to heed the words of the librarian – “Be quiet.”
All the best,
SAVE THE IRISH
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