What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? 
-R Schuller 

We live in a world of uncertainty and fear. Fear about the future; fear of global warming; fear of losing (wars, economics, etc.); and even fear of technology itself. We look back at the exuberance of the last century towards futurism and technology and now it looks naive and simplistic.

Ironically a big part of these fears arises from our own sense of inadequacy. If we were better/smarter/more knowledgeable somehow these problems wouldn't exist. What's worse, most people think that their self worth is defined by their knowledge (or lack thereof). This is exacerbated by the classical method of learning in school which is a fixed, limited process that impedes more than it enables. Thus the rate of change of technology makes them feel that their own value has diminished.

But what if the truth was exactly the opposite? What if instead of being afraid of learning we embraced it? And what if change was treated as an opportunity and adventure rather than a curse?

Rule #1: People are limited most by what they don't know.

Rule #1: People are limited most by what they don't know.

 

Society tells us we do all our learning in high school and college, and that's all we get. Even worse, we're told that if we don't get it within a short, prescribed timeframe we're "dumb".  What complicates this even further is that the amount we can learn in a measly four years (or less) is only a fraction of what we really need to know. So by necessity our individual knowledge has become very narrow. Moreover we're taught that our brains become "fixed" and if we don't learn it early-on we never will. This has become so ingrained in our psyche that we actually become afraid of learning as we get older. Part of this fear comes from not wanting to look foolish; and part comes from the suspicion that we wont be able to learn.

Early in life I was not a particularly outstanding student. From time-to-time it felt like it took me too long to learn things (from books) that others seemed to pick up much more readily. A big part of this came from my need to build up a "visual" picture in my mind of how things worked. This was often a slow and tedious process.

But what I have come to realize since then is that this "visual model" gives me a far more intuitive understanding of how things really work. Moreover, as with most things, the more you practice the easier it becomes. This is especially true of learning itself. And most importantly, the more you learn new things, and the more things you accomplish (that you never thought you could), the less you fear.

I've always though I should someday write a book about what I've learned (about learning). But I've come to realize I'll probably never have a "few years" to just sit back & do nothing but write. It's not my style. Instead I've decided to present what I'm learning as I learn it (or as closely as possible). These vignettes will hopefully demonstrate what can be accomplished when a person embraces the unknown and isn't afraid to look foolish from time-to-time.

So here I will show myself learning and exploring numerous topics by means of my various projects, hobbies, thoughts, and ideas spanning an ever-growing range of fields. What these projects have in common is that for the most part I started out with little or no knowledge of each topic area. Don't be surprised if these areas span everything from racecars to art, physics to social structure. And I'll guarantee there's always something new to learn and explore.

 

Welcome to my journey.