Before anything, it is important to note that the information and data that we memorise merely for examinations are not knowledge. They only become knowledge once we truly internalise and appreciate their essence. Knowledge are also acquired through experiences. Knowledge shapes our values, decision-making, skills and wisdom. It’s not an easy thing to gain knowledge, neither is it easy to quantify or measure how much knowledge we have. It usually reflected in how we carry ourselves and the decisions that we make. Regardless, knowledge is important and should always be pursued. Seeking knowlege is encouraged by Islam and should be our life-long mission!
Without further ado, here are 3 easiest and effective ways to gain knowledge:
1. Read Broadly
Read the news, read story books, read reports, read encyclopedias, read beneficial blog posts, read as much as you can on any topic. Sub-consciously, your mind will find ways to link the things that you’ve came across in the past with what you’re reading presently. To quicken the process, try to consciously relate what you’re reading with what you already know. Question the article. Are the things you’re reading in line with your beliefs and values? Have you experienced or witnessed anything that has a similar pattern or cycle? Question also the credibility of the articles. They might not be 100% true – after all, they are only written by humans and we humans are flawed. Read broadly, and read actively (mentally). Overtime, our brain will forge links between all that we’ve read and capture repetitive concepts. These main concepts will then rest in our knowledge “depository” somewhere in our mind.
Personally I dislike reading, and am envious of those who innately like to read. I, most of the time, have to force myself to read and have to put in effort to not be distracted by other things when reading. I feel for those that hate reading, but I don’t endorse it. Just try! No one said that life is easy. haha!
2. Mingle with the knowledgeable
Try to surround yourself with people of knowledge. Their passion will rub onto you. See how they do things and listen to the things they say. They usually have a lot of wisdom to share. Being around them will most-likely inspire you to want to upgrade yourself and that is what we are looking for here.
However, it is important to acknowledge that they are human-beings as well and they are imperfect. This means they might do wrong and it is important for you to know it when they do, so you don’t emulate them (the wrong-doings). You also shouldn’t cling yourself to just one “Guru”. Get to know others as well, learn their set of principles – or schools of thought -, and choose what is best for your personal growth.
3. Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is the ultimate shortcut, in my opinion. At times, for example in school, when we don’t understand something, we feel scared to ask because we fear to be judged by others. We fear that the question that we have is a ‘stupid question’. Well, trust me, most of the time, other people have the same question to ask but they are afraid to ask as well. So the next time you have a question, just do yourself and the others a favour and ask away!
Asking question is indeed a shortcut because you can get the answer to your doubt instantly, most of the time. Questioning also means that you’re thinking. It somewhat means that your brain can’t find the link to what you already know to the new piece of information. So when you ask and you get the answer, the brain will form links between this newly-attained info and the older ones. And as mentioned above, this is how you gain knowledge.
So, here are the 3 habits that we can adopt to be more knowledgeable, based on what I know. If you know of any other “shortcuts” do share with me. I would love to hear them.
May Allah grant us patience and perseverance to seek knowledge so that we can be better and grateful servants in the future.