The Debt Everyone Owes

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Ever since the 80’s, reality becomes more complicated faster and faster. Being generally knowledgeable has already become impossible for an average person. Our fields of expertise are inevitably shrinking as more detail is added to the database of mankind’s knowledge every day. There is just too much knowledge.

A few hundred years ago people like Leonardo da Vinci and Nicholas Copernicus were able to learn a vast majority of the whole knowledge accumulated by mankind. A few decades ago, the likes of Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman and Stephen Hawking managed to become experts in their field while being not-overly-ignorant of other branches of science and the current affairs around them.

On the other hand, an average person twenty years ago was pretty much ignorant about everything except his/hers very narrow margin of specialization. What’s even more important, he/she had no means to access any new knowledge without a certain articulated intent, considerable effort and often high cost.

But now… we’re in the Matrix. Remember the scene when they need to fly a helicopter and Trinity asks Tank to load a program straight to her brain allowing her to do just that? The whole procedure takes only a few seconds. Of course it’s not that easy in real life, but the general idea is already there

Pretty much all there is to know is already on the internet. And it’s not some arcane knowledge to find it either. Search engines allow you to ask more and more complex questions in a natural way. Only a moment ago, I entered “who does Trinity ask for helicopter flying program” into Google search box and there I was with the answer just a split of a second later. Just like Trinity.

Free your knowledge

Every day you ask an endless stream of questions: Which movie to watch? How to cook spaghetti? Which wine is best with Italian cuisine? How to fix the toilet? How to start writing a book? How to make it good?

Is there a way to know all? Of course, you use it every day – it is called the internet. If you are connected (and you are for most of the time), all human knowledge is just a click away. Remember how many times you learned new skills within minutes? One click on the search button and suddenly the world suddenly is not so scary anymore.

That is why we all have a debt to pay. Every one of us should contribute to this unprecedented database of human achievement by sharing his knowledge. Yes, sharing. For free. Pay your debt by letting everyone learn what you have learned.

The most powerful argument for sharing your knowledge is the ethical implication behind it. Imagine all those people in third world countries who can’t afford to get a proper education. Google gave them Google Translate to let them understand you (more on Google coming up), now it’s your turn to give them strong, reliable content. Empower the people and let them apply what you know to their lives. Whether you show them how to assemble a notebook or simply tell them the best recipe for pancakes, their choices will broaden even if they decide not to follow your advice.

Another strong point for sharing your knowledge is simple vanity. No matter whom you teach, they always end up being more like you. Obviously if you teach philosophy it will have a far greater impact on people’s minds than teaching them how to clean a carburetor (although teaching them what a carburetor is may prove really mind-changing). Regardless of the subject though, you will have the sheer satisfaction of being smarter than your students, which is a quality in itself and should make you start a blog, vlog or at least a Twitter account right away (follow me there while you’re at it).

It takes some effort, but it’s worth it. Think about it. Imagine how perfect this world would be if everyone learned how to be a little bit more like YOU. So start making it happen with one post at a time, reader by reader.

What’s in it for you?

But let’s not get carried away by the catchy phrases of ethical nature. Obviously I could point out how satisfying it is to help others and how important it is to make the world a better place, but the twisted point of my article is to convince you that ultimately it’s just good business.

Consider it from a more practical viewpoint. By letting everyone learn your skills, you also let them learn you are an expert. If your knowledge is worthwhile, useful and understandable, you will definitely benefit by sharing it. It may be a new client who decided to trust you seeing you knew what you were talking about, a new job offer from someone who read your article and was impressed or perhaps a new business proposition. Thus by making the world a better place you simultaneously make a better place for yourself in it.

Most of you will probably say, that sharing your knowledge creates more competition on the market, but while it seems like a good excuse not to do anything, it’s also just NOT TRUE. Remember that the people who just want to learn, will learn regardlessly, just not from you, but the people who just want someone knowledgeable to help them will not know that you’re the expert to turn to. Besides, the more people see you as an expert with valuable knowledge, the more valuable this knowledge becomes.

Whatever happens you just can’t loose. Start by sharing this article with all your friends. Sharing is fun. Try it.

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