Recently I listened to The Practicing Mind, and I felt like I learnt something new and had a few little revelations during the process - a rare event with “personal development” books these days.
I wanted to add a note about what left such an impression on me, and I struggled to articulate it. I got the kindle version and highlighted the most memorable passages from the audiobook. Even still, I struggled to put into words what my big takeaway was.
This happens with books a lot. I read them, “learn” things from them and walk around thinking I have all this knowledge from the books I consume. But if I had to explain what exactly I learned from these books, I couldn’t do it without going back and rereading them for the specific purpose of explaining it to someone else.
I also do it with podcasts. I listen to them and think I understand what was said, but when I try to explain it to my husband, I don’t make any sense. He’s probably confused, and I realise that maybe I didn’t understand what was said in the “podcast for intellectuals” at all.
Writing on this website is actually the catalyst for realising how little I understand. Before regularly writing (published and unpublished) notes, I was moving through the world thinking I had collected all these ideas from the content I consumed and that I knew things. Now I’m forcing myself to share what I know; I realise I know shit all.
The practice of writing has rather rudely revealed the problem. Thankfully it is also the solution. The more I write, the better I understand and the more I know.