As time goes on, I’m getting better about knowing more and more (thanks to tools like Anki). However, “knowing” and “understanding” are two very different things, and I need to make sure I’m getting enough of the latter.
Aytekin Tank wrote a great post about this last year, best summarized by a quote he shared from Richard Feynman:
“See that bird? It’s a brown-throated thrush, but in Germany it’s called a halsenflugel, and in Chinese they call it a chung ling and even if you know all those names for it, you still know nothing about the bird–you only know something about people; what they call that bird.”
Tank’s post leads to a great technique for better understanding anything — teach it. I’ve done this for years with our Meetup. Many of the items we lead are things we already know quite well, but some are for topics that we need to know better — by forcing ourselves to prepare to lead it, we learn it.
A good example of that was in early 2018, when I felt we needed to know more GDPR (privacy restrictions being unveiled in the EU). We held a Meetup about it! I learned a ton in preparing for it, others learned from attending it, and we all learned even more as questions were asked, researched, and answered. It’s a great way to grow.
I encourage you to check out Tank’s full post, as he shared some great insights and ideas to help everyone with greater understanding.