“If you wish to improve, be content to appear clueless or stupid in extraneous matters—don’t wish to seem knowledgeable. And if some regard you as important, distrust yourself.”EPICTETUS
When I was a kid, I was taught to read newspapers daily. I remember one time my grandfather’s friend, who was very close to our family, once told me that if you read newspaper editorial every day, you will never find yourself lacking information about any topic to talk about anywhere. That advice made way into my heart but in the completely wrong way.
Many times in my life I tried to incorporate this habit in my life. Sometimes by taking newspaper subscriptions, installing news apps, try to follow daily headlines on the news channels only to fail in the end. In current society somehow the idea that one is not informed about the current affairs of the world is not a sign of an educated person. And I also tried to follow this idea blindly just to sound more knowledgeable in front of few people.
Up till my life I never even thought that there is something wrong with this idea until I read this book The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris, where he said
I hope you’re sitting down. Take that sandwich out of your mouth so you don’t choke. Cover the baby’s ears. I’m going to tell you something that upsets a lot of people. I never watch the news and have bought one single newspaper in the last five years, in Stansted Airport in London, and only because it gave me a discount on a Diet Pepsi.
Now when I read this I thought now the author is just saying anything. But if you think deeply about how all this information that you consume every day makes your life better. Instead, it just makes it worse. And here is how
1. Information overload
Our brain has limited RAM and keeps only limited information in your mind. If you keep filling it with information from all around the world, how will you space for other creative things? We already have too many things going on in our head, you don’t need these extra bits of information pouring in day-in-day-out.
2. It’s depressing & you can’t do anything about it
When is the last time you opened the news channel to hear anything good? There is so much gloom, hatred, destruction around you that you see in the news, and why do you need this negativity in your life. There are chances that you can’t do anything about most of the things going around you.
So should we remain ignorant?
I think here Tim Ferris gives a beautiful suggestion. You need not be ignorant but you can accept that you are ignorant. There are people around you who keep themselves informed. Just ask them what’s happening in the world and they will tell you the key information. There is no shame in admitting that you are not on top of current affairs.