Not to brag — but I know a lot of stuff.
I have a wide range of knowledge on a lot of different topics. There is a ton of useless trivia in my head. Many topics intrigue me and draw my interest on any given day.
However — for all that I know there is so, so much still to learn. I know a little about a lot — and enjoy recognizing this and discovering new things to learn.
Sure, there are things I have ZERO use for. There are plenty of things I could learn that won’t serve me — even as random trivia. But learning is an ongoing experience.
I believe that learning IS life. One of the primary reasons you and I occupy these physical bodies is to experience. Part of experiencing is learning.
Learning is not just related to overall intelligence. May people know lots of things — but are not terribly intelligent. Likewise, many very intelligent people are not very wise.
What matters, though, is that learning is ongoing. That can take you to all kinds of places in your life.
It’s important, though, to remember that some lessons aren’t wanted, are not immediate, and are harder on us mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically than others. Also — because each of us perceives reality in our own unique way — what I learn from a given experience might differ vastly from what you learn.
Book smarts versus street smarts
Though not necessarily literal, there’s an important distinction to be made here.
Book smarts is what you learn in school, from books, reading news, studying journals, and the like. It’s not specific to earned degrees — but more to a thirst for knowledge and learning things.
Further, matters of book smarts might not apply to your overall life. For example, I recently read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. I am not a physicist, and even though I write sci-fi, I have little use for this knowledge. But I still read lots of articles about science because I love to learn such.
Another example — I was thrilled to read how NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars successfully converted carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen. So cool to learn — but utterly inapplicable to my life experience.
Street smarts is what you learn from your life experience. It’s not necessarily the literal definition of learning from life on the streets — but is not dissimilar, either. Everything you do in life teaches you something — sometimes it just doesn’t impact right away, or it takes root in your subconscious.
“Common sense” falls under street smarts. The notion of common sense is broad and includes a lot. For example — knowing that drinking alcohol makes you drunk and impairs your judgment. Yet how many people — drunk — get behind the wheel of a car?
Another way I have explained book smarts vs street smarts is in Dungeons & Dragons terms. If you are not familiar — every character you create in D&D has stats that determine abilities and positive or negative rolls of the dice. Strength, dexterity, charisma, intelligence, constitution, and wisdom.
Ergo — book smarts is intelligence. Street smarts is wisdom.
Anyone can have high stats in either, both, or neither of these.
Learning builds solutions
My life is, and has been, very different from yours. Though we’ve potentially had similar experiences — they were similar to a point — but not perfectly identical.
That’s because every single person on Planet Earth has a unique, individual perception of reality. No two people come to life with the same eye on how it works, what it means, or experiences therein.
In the words of Albert Einstein,
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
Because of the persistent, individual illusions of reality — everyone faces challenges along the way. Shit happens outside of our control, experiences we do not desire occur, and there are difficulties that we will face that present us with choices and decisions to be made.
I believe that there is a solution to every problem, situation, and challenge we face. Learning what that is, however, can take a lot of effort.
What’s more — there’s seldom only one option for any given situation. Unfortunately, there may be one good option and a dozen terrible options — but there are options. And sometimes you need to weigh if the terrible is more about perceiving bad than actual bad that might occur — or if it’s immediate and lessens later or vice versa.
Also, the terrible solution to this challenge might offer an opportunity going forward. For example — you are told you must take a pay cut at your job. The good solution — as you perceive it — is to accept it, tighten up your budget, and stay. The terrible solutions involve quitting and looking for another job, quitting and starting your own business, staying at the lower pay rate and running up your credit card debt to get a certification so you can take another job, etc.
There are always solutions, good, bad, or indifferent.
Learning empowers you
Let’s face facts — the only constant in the entire Universe is change. Like it or not, change happens. Sometimes it’s too slow and subtle to be noticed — and other times it’s drastic and distressing.
Like it or not — you are constantly changing, growing, and evolving. The obvious example is your body from childhood to teen to young adult to middle-aged to elderly. Of course, what that means from person to person is just as individual as our perceptions of reality — but we do change physically during our lifetime.
Because we seek comfort and certainty in our lives — many people refuse, reject, avoid, and fear change. They often resist due to the fear of suffering that change will cause more than actual suffering that might occur.
You have a choice when it comes to living your life. You can decide to attempt to live in a bubble that ignores the outside world — or you can recognize and acknowledge the outside world and choose for yourself how it impacts you. When it comes to the inevitability of change you get to choose how to direct that — or not.
You are the only one inside your head, heart, and soul. Only you think, feel, intend, and act for you. Even if you allow another to influence you — consciously or subconsciously — you get to choose and decide what that will be.
Actively learning is empowering. Knowledge is not just power — it’s empowerment. It’s how you use what you read in books and experiences you have day-to-day to work with growth, change, and evolution. It’s how you live life rather than let life live you.
This is, however, a choice. Choosing to learn empowers you to control your life experience. But that control is wholly on you and cannot apply to anyone nor anything else.
Choose for yourself
We all have choices and decisions in life. You get to decide for yourself what that means, how you act and react, and whether you live consciously or subconsciously.
Recognizing the power of learning — on every level — and making use of that is a choice. Many people stop formal learning after school is done. Or so they think. Lessons still occur — but they will often impact indirectly because active learning isn’t being practiced.
I love how every experience I have teaches me something. Good, bad, or indifferent, there’s something to be learned.
For example — getting hit by a car crossing a street 21 years ago. The injuries I received from this incident could have negatively altered my life. But I chose to learn all my options, work with my therapists, and use my connectivity to Universal source energy to heal as completely as I could.
I learned a lot from this accident. I learned that you REALLY need to look both ways before crossing the street. Crosswalks are your friend. But I also learned that the mind can assist doctors and science in healing the body. I also learned that I could consciously create reality with the proper focus and attention.
There were additional lessons about inner strength, resilience, and much more. This is why, when asked if I could go back and stop it from happening — despite the pain, the suffering, and all the negatives of it — I would not undo it.
I chose to learn from the experience. Now, I choose to share some of the insight that this further opened me to over the years.
Book smarts, street smarts, or both — you get to decide about learning and how to apply it in your life experience.
Learning is how we grow and evolve. How do you choose to apply learning in your life?