You’re not stupid. Well, you could be. I don’t quite know for sure. But you’re probably not. I’m willing to wager that you’re just ignorant of a few things as a direct result of being lazy. Don’t worry, we all can be lazy and ignorant about things. What you should actually worry about is that you can do something about it, but you’re choosing not to.

You see we live in an age where people are able to get information faster than McDonalds hands you plastic burgers, yet some of us are still too lazy to make any use of it.

Even when we know that we should, and can easily do so.

Let me ask you a simple question, and if your answer is ‘no’ to it, then that’s fantastic! You can stop reading this and move on to more interesting things. But if your answer is ‘yes’, then I hope you get something out of this little exercise aside from my free babble that comes with it.

The question is: do you ever feel envious of a person who just seems to know so much? So much more than you?

If your answer is yes, I’m here to tell you a secret. You can be that guy or girl, if you start doing something about it.

What’s the difference between you — who thinks you’re stupid — and the person next to you who you assume is a genius? Effort. That person reads. When that person doesn’t know something, he or she goes and finds out. Sounds obvious? That’s because it is. But just because something is obvious doesn’t mean people are aware enough or do what needs to be done.

Here’s an example. I once had a technical problem on my PC. I sat for four hours Googling until I eventually found the solution. I learned so much about the problem in the process that down the road when my friend had the same issue, I reduced that four hour time to a couple of minutes to put him on the right track to fixing it.

If you aren’t tech savvy, here is an example that may better apply to you. Have you ever heard someone tell you something that sounds dodgy but it’s just one of those things that you heard growing up and so you accept it?

Unfortunately you’ve succumbed to the influence of someone else’s method of tenacity, where they stubbornly believe things just because said things have been around a while. You in turn believed it because it came from an authoritative or trustworthy figure. Little things like ‘milk and fish together is bad for you’ or ‘you need 8 glasses of water per day.’

Both of these were told to me for instance. I knew it was fishy — excuse the pun — because Ocean Basket is one of many seafood restaurants that serve me milkshakes and dairy delicacies as desserts. And I knew most people didn’t have the discipline or desire to drink 8 glasses of water a day, let alone had any idea what size glasses they should be.

Of course when I did my own Googling, which took all of a couple of minutes, I discovered that both aren’t true. Feel liberated with this new knowledge!

The point is: when I don’t know something that I feel I should know, I go and find out.

You may laugh when you’re in Google and start typing “can I” and the suggested search is something apparently silly, like “can I get a HIV from sex?”

Yet someone unsure or uneducated Googled that, found the answer and is now equipped with the knowledge to live a healthier life.

Doesn’t sound so bad now does it?

Apply that universally.

Your family member may have told you something stern about religion or life. You could spend your years following it and practicing it, never knowing whether it’s true or not, and get it built into your brain to pass on, or you could verify it in a couple of minutes.

But why do this? And more so how could we possibly have the time to find out everything?

Remember the following: for every single person you think is so smart, there is a topic of conversation you can put him in where he or she sounds totally ignorant. For me? Talk about cars. Horsepower makes me think about horses. Ironically you may be thinking that I should go practice what I preach and find out about cars. Oh, and I will. As soon as it becomes relevant for me to acquire the information. Probably next year when I’m looking to buy my first car.

You don’t need to know everything in the world, as cool as it may be to do so. But read regularly, equip yourself with new knowledge, and when something has an influence on your life or belief system or becomes relevant in your day to day existence, find out about it. It’s a continuous exercise that should be interesting and fill you with strength.

The answer to the ‘why’ of it is extremely simple, but very empowering. It’s because knowledge is a key. A key to many doors. Knowledge opens doors that will give you access to new people, new conversations, new environments and as a result new opportunities.

I used to be the least sporty person ever. I never cared for it all. However after the 2010 South African Soccer World Cup I saw first hand the power of sports and how it can unite people and build relationships. I got into football then, learned it and loosely followed up until today.

What did I find? Suddenly I could have conversations with dozens and dozens of people, young and old, whom I previously could not. There was immediate familiarity.

I read every day. Not crap like the You Magazine or Celeb Gossip. But educational things, whether science, medicine, worldly events and so forth. Mostly for my own interest. I never quite know whether what I read will be of use to me in future, so I treat it as a fun exercise for personal development and the acquisition of knowledge.

But due to the fact that I simply read every day, there’s always something new to discuss when I’m with friends or other people. Of course I still pay attention to all my hobbies, whether it’s writing, games, comics, movies and so forth. But I devote time to learning to empower myself and equip myself with as much as possible so that I can potentially open more doors for myself in future.

And of course so that I can eliminate any myths, superstitions or absurdities from my belief system.

In the grand scheme of things I probably don’t know an enormous amount, but I don’t find that to be discouraging at all. Rather quite the opposite. It’s an opportunity to learn so much more and to just keep it up on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis. Even if you learn as little as one new fact or skill per day or week, it’s progress that could prove to be invaluable in ways you can’t foresee.

Knowledge after all is the key to all those doors you think are closed to you.

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