Seniors and Education III: Knowledge is Power – 5 Costs of Ignorance
It’s an age-old debate, knowledge or ignorance. I admit, there are some things I have no interest in or want to know about. However, as I’ve grown older, I lean more toward the idea that knowledge is power and have seen examples where not knowing can kill you. Ignorance, therefore, is not always bliss. Knowledge, truly, is power, especially concerning computers, the internet, and technology.
Three weeks ago, I took an internet finance class on mergers and acquisitions. It was eye-opening, and even though I didn’t understand everything, it prodded me to take the next class. This second class not only delves deeper into finance, but it also presents an array of digital marketing strategies. Most of these I had never heard of, much less considered. I admit this not to pat myself on the back, but, rather, to show that I was missing out on multiple opportunities to build my business. I am now also part of a talented global community, who, with one glaring exception (yours truly) know and understand these strategies inside out. I expect, too, that this group will be a tremendous long-term resource.
Many seniors when they retire quit learning. To me, that’s a tragic mistake. Last August I did a short series on education. My first article looked at benefits seniors could realize if they continued learning. I followed that with several resources they could easily access for continuing education classes or to learn a new hobby. Many of the resources were free. As an entrepreneur and small business owner, I don’t have the luxury of not exploring new opportunities that will help me help seniors remain independent. The class I’m currently engaged in has taught me a great lesson. I can’t sit still for too long. If I do, I’ll miss an opportunity for growth. Today I will be exploring the negatives that can occur if one ceases to learn.
- Isolation – Either at a public venue or on the internet, not being part of a community can foster loneliness, depression, and a host of other problems.
- Inactivity/Lethargy – Being idle and disengaged is not good. We were built for growth. Physical and intellectual inactivity can lead to physical and emotional problems. We should look for things that will stimulate us and lead us toward knowledge/growth.
- Fewer Options – A lack of knowledge limits our options. The internet is a great tool for learning both sides of an argument or researching different types of wheelchairs. Greater knowledge means more options.
- Lost Opportunity –Stagnation is not growth. Learning stimulates growth and the new knowledge allows us to be more aware of opportunities we, otherwise, would not have known about.
- Loss of Discovery – Whether I’m hiking in the woods or doing research on the internet, I am prone to wander down a rabbit trail or two. Many of these trails have led to things I otherwise would not have discovered. For example, one rabbit trail led me to discover the works of Steve Goodman, the talented folk musician who is best known for writing The City of New Orleans.
You’ll see that I’ve strayed from my usual format of linking to known resources like the World Health Organization (WHO), Harvard Review, or the Center for Disease Control (CDC). I may be flying by the seat of my pants on this one, but learning should continue long after careers are over. Technology, specifically the internet, has opened countless opportunities for research, stimulation, and intellectual growth. It can also lead us to take on new physical activity. It did just that when I used pool workouts to rehab my ankle.
There is no excuse to quit learning. People are now living longer than past generations and opportunities for growth abound. Seniors need to be encouraged to take a class, acquire a new hobby, or tour the local museum. Statistically, if you retire at 65, there is a good chance you will live another 20 plus years. That’s too long to be stagnant. That stagnation can potentially weaken one’s independence. I encourage you to take a class, start a new hobby, or read a book on something you know little or nothing about. The cost of ignorance can potentially be quite steep.