We will never reach a point in life where we acheive a state of enlightenment that exempts us from continuing to grow. In fact, as long as there is life in us, there is opportunity and responsibility to continue to grow. In nature, when something stops growing, it begins to decay.
I have known individuals who fall into the trap of thinking they have arrived at a point where they are entitled to sit back and bask in what they have accomplished and now expect the good things of life to just roll on in. They are annoying, to put it mildly.
Reality is, we can never learn too much. For me, I have found that the more I learn, the more I realize there is to learn. The more I read, the more I become aware of what I haven’t read and what else there is to pick up on.
Too often we think of learning as for students in school. Once we graduate, we think, “That’s it. I’ve learned. Now, it’s time to do.” While graduation is actually just the beginning of our learning.
I firmly believe that the curiosity we have is a gift from God to keep us exploring, growing. It’s when we stop asking questions and stop seeking knowledge and experience that we stop living a life that honors our design.
Imagine where we would be if at any point in history mankind said, that’s enough. We don’t need to learn any more. Life is good like it is. Let me give you an example.
It has been attributed to the Commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office , Charles Duell in 1899 as saying, “Everything that can invented, has been invented.” While there is some dispute over whether or not he actually uttered those words, think about the implications of that for a moment. If the world had believed it and stopped learning, stopped inventing, we wouldn’t have airplanes or modern cars or cell phones or microwaves or almost any of the things we use daily. Many of us would still have outhouses and electricity would be more dangerous and very unreliable.
Just over 100 years later and more has been invented in the last two decades then in the previous 20.
All because people have decided to keep learning. Bill Gates at one time thought that 640K of computer memory would be enough for anybody. To put that in perspective the single image that accompanies this article is 543K. An entry level iPad has about 25,000,000 times that amount of memory. Yes that is 25 million. It was just a few years after Bill gates made that proclamation that he released OS/2 which included 16MB or about 25,000 times the amount of memory that he thought in 1981 was enough for most people. Over 30 years later, Bill Gates is still learning and improving and increasing his capacity as well as that of the work he does.
It is so important for us to keep learning. It is vital to expand our capacity to think and reason and do. We can never know everything and our brains can hold so much more than we believe. We will never arrive at a point where we can coast because there is no more for us to do. Just maybe, the next learning, the next truth, the next discovery could change everything.
Fire, the wheel, penicillin, gun powder, electricity, relativity, the atom, DNA, and on the list goes: all of these were that one more discovery that changed everything for humanity. And, we are still learning and growing from all of them as a result.
So read. Explore. Ask questions. Seek. Experiment. Try. And, never stop learning.