Ask any surgeon and they’ll tell you that 25% of the blood that is pumped from the heart goes to our heads. The effort it takes to think and learn is actually much more than we think. No, it might not quite be the same as going for a run or stopping by the gym for a quick post-work workout, but learning takes a lot of time and energy. Maybe that is why so often we hear ‘When I come home, I can’t wait to watch my favourite show. Hell, I may even watch five or six episodes and fall asleep to it!’. Watching primetime TV doesn’t make us think much. It is easy watching and at the end of the day, doesn’t challenge us much.
When we read a book or have an intellectual conversation, we are challenged in how we think and why we think it. Conversing always puts us in a bit of a spotlight that forces us to be a better version of ourselves. We don’t want to look silly, uneducated, dumbfounded, or anything that has the other person think any less of us.
I’ve found though, and this isn’t something that is shared just with me, is that the more I know, the more I realize I have to know and the hungrier I am for knowledge and information. Coming from a small town in interior Canada, there are limited experiences, people, and conversations based on where people have been and what they have seen. Then, moving to a city that is usually viewed as a single industry town, the conversation very rarely strayed from the hand that fed the majority of people there. Now having moved to a costal city that has a diverse economy, but a lifestyle that is much more laid back and relaxed, I’ve found again that the lifestyle is different and the people of the city have yet another way of viewing the way they live and the why behind it.
When we are cooped up in our houses and glued to the computer or yet another episode of our favourite Netflix show, it is becoming more and more clear that the world we live in is less and less hungry for information despite having more and more of it at the tip of our fingertips. As a result, we see the rise of ‘experiences’ that don’t require us to leave our couches, and a society that is getting increasingly apathetic.
Perhaps I should try and qualify this and be a little more specific. In Canada, more and more people are getting an education, and are ‘smarter’ as a result. But with this increase in technology and ease to sit in our living rooms and ‘get updated’ via twitter or whatever media we choose to use, we physically experiences less that we did in the past. Less people are going out, being social doesn’t have the same connection with being out in the community as it did before, and our experiences, those things that really challenge us, happen in a different way than they did before.
In a presentation to a university co-op group, my co-founder Emerson Csorba talked at length about community and the curiosity needed for people to be learning and the best version of themselves. He spoke about membership to philanthropic or charitable groups be financial only, so that people could say they were a part of something bigger, but still not have to leave the comfort and safety of their homes to actually participate. To build the resume, people don’t have to disclose the hours they may have been social and present, just the hours they helped, which may not have to be in person at all. This is slightly worrisome as the actual interaction of people is dwindling.
There is a necessity to learn, to experience, and to be scared. In a time where job tenure and happiness is falling, we read and see on TV what a job might look like, but forget this studio portrayal isn’t real. It isn’t what we live and we become anxious as a result.
Experiencing life and learning must increase. Failure has to actually be embraced as a part of life and viewed part of the experience. People have to get off of the treadmill and into the park to see new things, smell new smells, and learn about the community and the people in it.