Knowledge is power. But how do you gain that power? There are, in fact, two ways to to learn knowledge — you can memorize facts, and you can understand concepts. I think everyone would agree that understanding concepts is a much better way to go, when it comes to learning knowledge.
The problem is that understanding concepts is really hard, and it take a really long time as well. They’ve done many studies on “experts” in a variety of fields, such as mathematics and physics, and they regularly give different answers to questions than those less knowledgeable in the field. The experts think first of the major laws and principals, and they can tell you exactly why things happen. They don’t just recite the facts.
And that is what separates people who really “know” from people who don’t. So how can you gain the power of knowledge. You need to learn something well — really well. You may learn a lot of things in your life, but you should focus the most of your effort in one area, one that you really enjoy. And you should attempt to get better and better in that area. The Psychologist, E.L. Thorndike, said that it takes 30 learning exposures to a concept before you really understand it well, and in most cases, 30 exposures is the minimum. This means that you have to study the same material over and over again, in different ways. This sounds boring, but if you love the area of study, then it won’t be a problem. You’ve got to get the concepts down cold so you can really understand them, and apply them to new and different cases as they occur. This is how innovations occur.
Don’t be a Jack-of-all-Trades. Find out what you’re good at, what you truly enjoy, and become an expert in that area, or in today’s terms — a Geek.