Learning what you already know

Tonight I expect we will witness a pretty robust Presidential debate. Some prospective voters are likely to get a lot out of it.

But most won’t.

For the die-hard Republicans, just about everything that gets said will confirm that our President is a typical tax and spend liberal. He’s obviously an inept leader who, by the way, was probably born in Kenya. For them, Romney is clearly the sort of leader who will get tough on spending and restore America to its rightful place as THE leader of the free world.

For the dyed-in-the-wool Democrats, Romney will once again show that all he cares about is rich people. He’s the sort of guy who will say anything to get elected, and besides, his numbers simply don’t add up when it comes to his deficit reduction plan. President Obama, on the other hand, has gotten us back on the right track and he is the candidate who truly cares about ALL Americans.

My particular example is about politics, but my point is broader.

We watch Fox News or MSNBC because it supports the world view we already hold.

We read books to reinforce our preconceived notions.

We spend our time at work polishing a skill we already have.

We learn what we already know.

Don’t get me wrong; there is often benefit in practicing our craft and in deepening our knowledge. But if you are anything like me, you often invest your time at the margin in a fruitless quest for perfection or engaged in activity that is mostly about assuaging the ego or staying safely in your comfort zone.

I wonder what you would get if you spend a bit less time learning what you already know and just a bit more time challenging your conventional wisdom.

I wonder what the world might get.




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