Navigating through a vast sea of opinions pushed on us all day long is difficult. Consciously seeking knowledge in a world overloaded with information has become a critical skill we all must cultivate.
Fake news, manipulated stories, hidden agendas and unproven statements undermine our trust.
With our mobile devices and social media connecting more than one-third of all human beings on Earth to information spread instantly, what information do we believe? The answer is simple and time-tested.
Know the Difference
O•pin•ion is judgment. Opinion is formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. As Carl Jung said, “thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.” Judging leads merely to opinions. It’s knowledge that attracts the most useful advice for better decisions.
Knowl•edge is understanding. Knowledge arises from the combination of data, information, experience. In a world now generating vast amounts of information, verified data and experience are the drivers of knowledge.
Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, made a famous claim in 2003 that “every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003,” pegging the volume of data created every day at a bit above two exabytes.
One 2016 study from Northeastern University reported that “the total amount of data in the world was 4.4 zettabytes in 2013. That is set to rise steeply to 44 zettabytes by 2020.”
One exabyte is 1 billion gigabytes. One zettabyte is 1 trillion gigabytes. Too vast? Put it this way: one exabyte of storage could contain 50,000 years’ worth of DVD-quality video. Better get a comfortable chair to watch a fraction of one zettabyte worth of streaming video.
Leaders and business owners get bombarded with messages, advice and data all day long. It can be overwhelming. Often, it’s a lot easier to wait for the most important information to rise to the top and then address issues. Still, acting quickly with authority is highly rewarded in small to large businesses, governments and communities. In the end, those of us who can establish a pattern of successes achieve more. Patterns are consistency of experiences. Successful patterns are discerned by others as desirable.
If you want to be successful in our information-loaded and fast-paced world, then begin improving your discernment. You will stand out as bucking the trend of decelerating knowledge. You won’t put up with mindless sharing of opinion. You’ll demand others seek the same discernment… at least if they want to be in your company or friendship circles.
How do we discern between incoming information that is opinion versus knowledge? Human evolution gave us discernment through thinking and feeling to make better choices. Use your reasoning and bullshit meter to weed out opinion.
The Answer: Good Old Discernment
Dis•cern•ment is the ability to judge well. Discernment allows us to wield true knowledge that has stood our own tests of reasoning and intuition. To shortcut discernment is a laziness that leads to being susceptible to opinions. The cost is high and quick to merely follow opinion.
Knowledge that passes our discernment illuminates choices, finds new patterns and inspires action that delivers superior and innovative results.
Cultivate knowledge-seeking skills:
- Education delivers the discipline and reasoning foundation
- Read, listen and watch with intention to know something new
- Research facts, studies and replicated results to support knowing
- Participate in Forums is needed to share experience and discernment
Cultivate intuition-building skills:
- Humbleness creates an openness to grow
- Mind-Heart Coherence brings all your conscious tools to play
- Witness yourself and others to learn from mistakes, build strengths
- Get out-of-the-box to broaden perspective
Taking time in your full schedule to learn, study and discern for the knowledge that leads to better decisions has enormous benefit for your personal success. Be a role model for accelerating knowledge and squashing opinion.