Knowing is a liability to making progress – sometimes!

Recently I had a discussion with a colleague who is finishing their doctoral studies after three years of exhaustive research. We discussed lots of things, but most outstanding for me was our similar conclusion about research work. It became apparent during our tête-à-tête that three years of doctoral studies were not so satisfying for my colleague’s initial dreams and desires when they first set out on this journey. It had turned out that they didn’t discover the Higgs boson particle or anything really new to create a virgin field of science. The three years were rather highlighting the fact that we are mostly refining previously discovered science, and not really contributing new scientific principles. We are just building on other peoples’ work. And well, as a form of consolation, we both agreed that indeed our contributions, even though they don’t really cause gigantic impact to entirely new fields of science, they contribute towards making our world better – simplifying life in one way or another.

We then quickly diverted into something to do with life in general; and how having knowledge of what’s possible can really affect our actions and way of doing things. Most importantly, knowing that YOU CAN! This can make you complacent and keep you as a mediocre always, and thus knowing is a liability. We have gone past the stage of not knowing; we all at least know someone out there who has gone out of their way to do something really good, and this gives us the confidence that we too can do it (not exactly what they have done, but something similar).

So, you know that if you really worked hard and kept dedicated to your business/work, you can escape poverty (at least the American dream is based on this premise, and so is everywhere else where similar principles are at play). The world knows that if it really concentrated all its efforts to ending world hunger, it can be done in less than a year! The world knows that it has the potential to stop any new HIV infections effective immediately, if everyone chose to! A student knows too that if they dedicated 100% of their time to studying they shall get better results. We all know these things and how possible they are, and yet we choose not to do any them. We know that we have the potential, but what do we choose to do? Nothing! (Am sure you have heard someone ask `how come with the level of technology we have, we can’t find a missing airplane, or a cure to some of the most horrible diseases we face today? `). This shows that we apparently have confidence in ourselves (which is good); but this is actually one of the problems with knowing WE CAN. We become lazy, complacent, and end up doing nothing. We know that if every person on earth planted a tree per year, the environment would benefit and eventually all of us. We know all these things, but what do WE choose to do? What do YOU choose to do? This is the biggest problem for YOU and the author of this article. We are fully aware of what`s possible. Failing to do or to achieve isn`t because we lack knowledge of our potential, or because we don`t believe in ourselves; it’s a result of us knowing we can, but choosing to do less or nothing at all. We are surrounded with a lot of resources; at least those who sprout out have all seemed to exploit this abundance of resource. Barack Obama knew exactly this, and he exploited it to his advantage, making the phrase “Yes We Can” a synonym for potential, ability, RESILIENCE and success! Those who are genuinely making it to the top 1% appreciate knowledge of what’s possible and what isn’t. We have become comfortable in staying average, only because it is the easier option. We don’t have the courage to explore the `known` – the fact that if we really gave out OUR ALL to our sincere desires, we would achieve them. But honestly, what stops you from seeking out? What is stopping you from taking the next step, especially if you are sure it isn’t going to take your life; more so, when the result of which, is currently unknown. YES, no one knows whether if person X put effort Y into activity Z, the result will be this or that? Are we afraid because some have tried and failed, or are we scared because some have tried and succeeded? Both scenarios have the potential to hold someone back. Success is sometimes a threat to life and yet most people secretly desire it; most people want to get from their current position to what they consider a better one – and in my opinion, that’s the definition of success; to close your eyes against the entire world, and concentrate on bettering yourself first, so that when you look at yourself today, you are better than the person you were yesterday. That you probably have more courage, or have conquered more of your fears, or moved a step closer to your goal, and holding the firm resilience that aims at continuous improvement of yourself despite the circumstances at play – RESILIENCE Beyond! I wake up every day desiring to be better than I was yesterday, to elevate myself further. Do not literally take the `day` to mean the known 24 hours between sunrises, but rather a time that has passed. This time varies for us all, and it’s not entirely important how quickly it passes; the take home message is that of embarking on a path of self-improvement for the benefit of you first. And if everyone else does this, then the collective benefit of all our effort shall express itself exponentially. That’s when we can all, in a collective effort of individual self-improvement better the human race.

And now that you know, I hope this knowledge won’t make you complacent in achieving the thing we all desire – a better world for everyone; a future we all envisage!

photo credit: N00/11332336154″>Apolo Anton Ohno If I have given my all and still do not win, I haven’t lost. Others might remember winning or losing, I remember the journey via photopin (license)

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  • Taye

    Could it possibly be because of the too many choices we have? I wonder why most of us work very hard to meet dead lines but when it comes to our own life we think we have got all the time in the world…

  • Admin

    Taye, We tend to convince ourselves that we can postpone what’s got to do with our lives/decisions. This self procrastination is based on a lie we continuously tell ourselves – that we have time, and yet our own things should take precedence. Our life should come first; only then can we be able to make responsible choices, or even find it easy to meet our personal deadlines. Only when we learn to take what’s ours seriously can other people give us their serious tasks (work, jobs, opportunities); because they shall know that we shall do them as seriously as we do ours. Thanks

  • Taye

    What possibly can motivate us to make our lives come first? What makes us lie to ourselves? How can we learn to take ourselves seriously? As I said it is easier for us to do tasks given to us by others. So being given serious tasks by others or being trusted/ reliable person will not be any motivation. Even when we know taking our selves is necessary most of us don’t do that, why?!?

  • Admin

    Instinctively we are selfish, that means our lives come first; but only in the basic things/details that sustain our living. Once we have this bare minimum that can take us beyond today and probably tomorrow, the one we are ‘assured’ of, we stop making effort! We don’t want to take that extra step, we become comfortable within us. And the reason why one responds to tasks from others quickly or seriously is because it helps to sustain their current state of comfort. By setting goals we can try to motivate ourselves to getting them achieved, that way, our goals become first priority. If one has no goals or ambitions, he/she isn’t motivated enough to continuously consider their life first priority. We can learn to take ourselves seriously by first of all, challenging ourselves to a life goal and choosing to stick to it and see it through. In that case, once you are deeply buried into your goal, you may find that you don’t want to disappoint yourself. Also, setting deadlines for ourselves keeps us in check of the things we committed to in the first place. Start small and extend it to the bigger things in your life!

  • Anonymous

    Dear Writer, my question is answered well, thank you… keep writing and keep motivating us…