In any pursuit, be that your career, your relationships, your financial goals – it’s important to become and remain informed. Informed people have a tendency to outperform those who are not. It’s why many of us wish to stay up to date with our social media feeds, with the latest headlines in the news, or on topics that interest us, such as sport.
But is becoming an informed person the be-all and end-all of our approach? Or is it something we simply do to ensure that if a topic comes up in conversation, we can contribute to it?
It all depends on what you hope to achieve, and how you hope to achieve it. Being informed can be a worthwhile pursuit. It’s much better than being ignorant. But how you choose to apply that informed life can often be the best means of going forward, as it can help reduce ignorance and generally give you a stronger lease of life. Who knows what hidden tricks this could promote?
With the following tips, we would like to show you:
It’s often the case that knowledge that isn’t applied in some way is often forgotten. That’s just how our minds work. This is why trivia can be so enticing, it’s a list of general knowledge questions that can be hard to recall, and are completely unexpected. However, most of us don’t have time to learn everything about the current news cycle or to read into topics that do not interest us. Some topics, you might say, can be very useful even if they’re not applied. For example, reading the early Socratic discourses and pondering philosophy with the greatest minds that are still celebrated can be a worthwhile venture. It can texture you as a person.
However, for the most part, it can be worthwhile to specialize how informed you become. For example, let’s say you wish to begin working in a field as a reporter. Understanding you know the history, the current players, the events that take place will all take up your time, but it’s the knowledge you can apply dramatically, and something you can develop more stringently. Applicable knowledge should be a large part of your informational intake, because like anything, we can only specialize in a few matters in life. Does this mean you’ll read the London Review of Books and completely ignore reading the news cycle? Not likely. But organizing your social media, RSS and personal feeds can help you find more applicable knowledge of worth.
How You Share It
How you share knowledge can be a worthwhile venture as well. When you become informed, it can be a good idea to contribute to discussions or to point people towards certain sources you have read into. When you can share knowledge and discuss your ideas, not simply accept whatever is given to you in the tabloid or broadsheet, you become a person who is much more able to think critically. This can be a superpower in itself.
In some cases, it might be that you choose to inspire those under you towards a certain mode of thinking. For example, teachers using the best school classroom resources to inflame the imaginations and understanding of those they are charged to teach can be a fantastic ideal, helping them think laterally, to understand an attitude, or to simply become more aware with a topic.
Contributing to discussions on websites such as Reddit, or to read cultural critiques, or to find more substantial journalism and read op-eds as opposed to YouTube comments can be a worthwhile cause, and might help your aim significantly. It can seem like this is just a petty thing to achieve for leisure, but the more you can rigorously question how informed you are, you will never be fully able to think for yourself and use that knowledge for a better purpose.
It’s Okay Not To Have An Opinion
Many people believe that they have an opinion on most things. For example, if we were to ask you how you felt about Donald Trump or Brexit, two intensely controversially charged topics, you would likely have a knee-jerk reaction. That’s fine, of course. We’re not about to dissuade you from having your own thoughts about things.
However, when we’re too quick to form an opinion, we can start defending it despite actually having all the facts. Look at any political YouTube comment section to see what we mean. Rarely are ideas well-articulated, and often those with the most ‘likes’ get the most attention.
Being informed can leave you thinking that you know everything. That you have a higher mind and a tendency to look to the depths of a topic. This can leave you feeling rather high-and-mighty about things. However, as Bukowski once said – “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”
This means that simply enforcing an idea you hold can be somewhat misdirected. Instead, learning that it’s okay not to have an opinion about something, it’s okay to wait until you become more informed or see how something plays out can help you avoid making an impromptu stance that is easily disproved. This is the power of being informed – you become more able to read deeply into a topic rather than being betrayed by your surface emotions or wants.
This can all seem very patronizing, but it’s an incredible feeling to feel, particularly if you’re used to arguing with strangers on the internet, or feeling annoyed when controversial news topics come up.
Taking A Break
Being informed is worthwhile. In fact, it’s necessary. But in order to absorb the information fully, taking a break now and then can be worthwhile. Don’t bother with the petty stuff, or focus on more quality journalism than quantity. Look to history, or break things up by finding your own lived experience. If you can do this, you will manage your mental health while also staying as informed as possible.
With this advice, we hope you’re able to be informed – but in a more healthy and constructive manner.