Learning is a wonderful experience and since knowledge is unlimited, how do we make full use of it?
Quite often, enthusiasm to learn new things and begin motivates people to start. As a result, many business plans with a strong foundation are quickly laid together. With the initial knowledge of how things work in a business, the setting up of such a business goes very well. However, like any other field of knowledge, people who had the energy and vigour to start a business lose their interest to learn more. Sadly, this is how failures begin.
Recently, I came across an interesting quote by Daniel J. Boorstin. He explains, ‘the greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.’ Businesses when they start out believe in an illusion that they have gained enough knowledge to hold things together. Of course, it is always better to begin without looking out for perfection. However, after learning a lot about their business and starting out, business owners stop learning more. They live in an illusion of having enough knowledge and therefore, do not attempt to learn more. This illusion of knowledge and refusal to learn more causes most businesses to fail eventually.
Here’s the thing about knowledge. It is not stagnant. As the world around changes with every passing day, new tools are brought forward and better technology is invented. The market is in constant change, with different waves hitting at it. As change is inevitable, knowledge is limitless. Just because you have enough knowledge to start a business does not mean you have enough knowledge to run a business forever.
A close look at the lifestyle of any successful business person would reveal a list of habits that they practice to be always aware of things around them and an urge to learn. They carefully select a lifestyle that provides them with a lot of time to gain knowledge and reflect upon them.
How to Gain Knowledge
1. Read – Reading is perhaps the most rewarding technique to gain knowledge as it helps in understanding a given topic in depth. Reading is a relatively slower method of learning and thus helps business minds in calming down and reflecting on what they have read. It also gives extensive knowledge on a subject matter, which would also eventually lead to a curiosity to learn more.
2. Conversations – Good conversations with people is one of the most fun ways to learn and gain knowledge. These conversations can be with people who are highly knowledgeable or with anyone who is around you. Sometimes, business problems that normally do not meet a business leader’s eyes could be noticed and felt by an employee, a vendor outside the business firm or even a customer. Conversations lead to an amalgamation of thoughts of different people. This would mean that a person can gain so much knowledge from the experience of many people.
3. Listening to Podcasts – Listening to intelligent people speaking their minds is another way of gaining knowledge. Podcasts can be streamed easily and it can be run in the background as well while you go about your day. Thus, they are a more convenient way of learning, which would essentially help the busy business thinkers. A podcast in your eye in a slow moving traffic could be the perfect way to use time to gain knowledge.
4. Building a knowledge culture – Any good business that intends to grow should build a knowledge culture within the entire organisation. This means that every person working in a business should also try and learn things on their own and contribute to the growth of the business. Building a knowledge culture within the business also makes employees feel validated. It is essential to keep an open mind towards everyone because knowledge can be found anywhere.
5. Using Information Technology – The internet is one of the vast sources of knowledge. A few clicks here and there would provide you with a plethora of information on everything you need to know. Apart from the internet, maintaining databases is another way to ensure that the data you collected so far remains organized and thus, information would be easily accessible. There are various software tools that can help in analyzing the information collected and helps in coming up with useful insights.
John F. Kennedy had once said, “In a time of turbulence and change, it is more true than ever that knowledge is power.” Times are changing with a pandemic still in the way. Change is, after all, unavoidable. Hence, knowledge is the only way to push through such tough times.