Acquiring Knowledge

Get Results: no end to knowledge
Get Results: no end to knowledge

One of the building blocks to getting results is the “acquisition of knowledge”.

In philosophy, the study of knowledge is called Epistemology and the definition of knowledge most popular with Epistemologist, came from Plato who famously defined it as “True Belief with Logos (a reason)”, or “justified true belief”.

So now that we’ve defined what knowledge is, how do we acquire it?

More often than not, knowledge is acquired through the testimony of other people.

Generally we learn through the people we share our lives with. Those who have greatest influence on us growing up, are parents, siblings, friends, teachers, authority figure, who we look to and trust. More widely, we take knowledge from the media and science as reliable sources of knowledge. Although many people question the honesty of media these days.

There is knowledge about the fact of things. Things like the earth is round, things fall to the ground because of gravity, your name is [whatever your name is], your birth date is [whatever it is], you are male or female. We believe them and they are accurate, so we have knowledge, providing we haven’t been lied to about them.

There are also beliefs that come out of inference. Your parents might say to you “None of our family are rich, people like us just don’t get rich, so you’re not likely to get rich either”. The knowledge that “none of our family are rich”, might be accurate, but the inferences that “people like us don’t get rich, so you’re not likely to get rich either”, can’t be counted as knowledge, they are not fact, but they may well be believed.  Many self-limiting beliefs are formed this way. We hold them as truth, we may count them as knowledge, but they are not, they are no truer than saying “none of our family are rich, but there is nothing stopping us getting rich, with education, effort and a sound plan of action, you can be as rich as you want to be.”

When we’re considering moving away from what we’re currently doing, to go somewhere else, or do something else, whether that is building a new career, starting a new business, moving to live somewhere new, whatever it is, there is likely to be a requirement to gain some new insights, learn some new knowledge, to help us along the way.

So we require finding reliable sources of accurate information to help us do that. We are also required to have enough self-belief and self-confidence to take action. If you don’t believe you can do it, you’re unlikely to put yourself in the way of possible failure and disappointment.

Social conditioning includes all the sources of testimony of knowledge we’ve identified previously; parents, teachers, peers etc. The term social conditioning also includes negative connotations, particularly concerned around somewhat restrictive, self-limiting beliefs we may have picked up along the way.

If we haven’t experienced it directly, we’ve all heard of people who have been told they won’t amount to much, or shouldn’t try to stretch themselves, so as not to experience disappointment and failure. If we take these kind beliefs onboard, they can become intertwined with our knowledge and it can be hard unpicking fact from fiction.

So, the way ahead includes finding reliable sources of accurate information, and unpicking your limiting beliefs enough to find the confidence to take the necessary action to follow your dreams, or at the very least, chase down your goals.

We now have more access to knowledge than ever before. We can learn so much through the internet these days. There is soo much information available, the biggest problem is there is also a lot of dross and misleading information to wade through, and it’s difficult to identify who and what to believe and who and what to ignore.

We need to find sources of information who have credibility, ideally people who have done what it is we want to do, and so have direct knowledge about what is required, or what was required for them to do it. They have a track record that we can model. We may call these people role models, or if we can get personal access to them, even mentors.

We need to make sure sources of information and knowledge are not serving some hidden agenda, which doesn’t have our best interests at heart. Sure there lots of courses out there that will teach you to do something, but there are many more who promise to give you the world, to make you rich, but who have no intention of doing anything other than lining their own pockets. When you spend a certain amount of time online you begin to recognise the signs to watch out for. These often include outrageous claims of success. The general rule applies, that if it sounds too good to be true, or promises to be really easy, then you can bet it’s a scam more often than not.

Remember one thing, the road to success is a journey, try to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Learn your trade, keep trying to make improvements,  so you grow into the person you need to be to succeed, and don’t look for shortcuts. There are very few overnight successes in any areas of life.

So, in summary, learn the difference between knowledge that is fact, and beliefs that you treat as knowledge, but aren’t and that often only serve to hold you back from chasing down your goals.

Find reliable sources of accurate information and knowledge, which helps move you closer to achieving your goals.

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