The Information Cycle

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Happy Monday! While walking into the college learning center today, it hit me how incredibly lucky I am for the opportunity to tutor my students and recycle the information somebody once gave me, to help them! In keeping with the sentiment of this feeling, I want to pass these Monday thoughts along to you.

Everything you perceive in the world is information and as humans often do, we’ve sort of ruined its purity by capitalizing on this sustainable resource, which creates a limitation on it. Monetizing information is a very new practice as far as Earth is concerned. But is it ingenious or unethical?

As a person who sees on a spectrum rather than in dichotomy, I’d argue it’s a bit of both. If you want to serve as a leader in a capitalist culture, then you need to find the sweet spot for giving and taking.

Here are some rules of thumb to keep your information cycle spinning.

Appreciate Information

Gratitude shapes the information we receive and in turn determines how freely we share this knowledge. You cannot give what you do not appreciate because you must have before you can give and to gain anything you must first truly appreciate it.

Voltaire put this perfectly when he said,  “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” Children understand this concept which is why they will happily shove their tasty food into your mouth, shriek for you to look at the wonders they see, and excitedly relay every detail of their day to you as if you weren’t there. In all honesty, you probably were not; at least not the way that they were. Taste, look, and listen for understanding from a child’s’ perception is an awesome gift; they can re-teach us how to experience this recycling of excellence. Which brings me to the next rule to remember.

Both Learning and Teaching are Intangible Gifts

When you learn to appreciate everything, you can then see it as the gift that it is. Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” As stated in the introduction, I felt this walking through that doorway this morning.

Yes, I worked incredibly hard in college to learn as much as possible, so in a way, I earned this information. However, I did not earn it on my own. Somebody had to pass it along to make it available to me. Sure some of it I paid for, but much of it I did not. My best professors shared more than the college paid them for and libraries donated shelves of knowledge; I learned more than I deserved. Thankfully I understood that as a student which helped me grow into an intellectual with my own atheneum of information to share. But now, I understand it much deeper as an educator because I learn at least as much from my students as I teach them.

How?

Each student provides a unique experience as they come from different parts of the world and each requires a different method of teaching; they both teach me about their culture and force me to push outside of my own head to conform to their way of thinking at that moment. Furthermore, their questions push me to research ideas my brain never formed in quite that way. And most importantly, their transition from confusion to enlightenment gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride that I do not own alone; the student-educator relationship is wonderfully synergistic.

Knowing this brings me to the conclusion that I have only because I have been given and that is why I should give. Say this often and understand it always.

Understand Information is Borrowed, Not Owned

Because learning is a shared gift, we can never completely own the information we receive, and this is a fantastic thing. In a way, that information kind of owns you as it retains a piece of you. As the Dalai Lama said, Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.” Information allows for immortality because when you pass on your knowledge, a piece of you is retained and lives as long as that insight does; our bodies will die, but our thoughts can live forever through others. The number one instinct for all living creatures is to extend life by creating means of extension but, for some reason, as we grow older, our tongues tell children to share but our actions teach them not to. We live with this paradoxical fear that the information we learn could make somebody else greater than us, so we extinguish what makes information great by smothering it within ourselves. Live outside your stingy ego and borrow instead of burry.

Leaders Who Get It

The wealthiest people keep their secrets, right?

Honestly, in terms of dollars, many might. But I’d argue that the wealthiest people, in terms of currency greater than money, try to lift others up to their level. To learn is to expand oneself, but share knowledge is to reach enlightenment. Here are some people to follow on the path to enlightenment.

1. Steve Jobs

During his impressive life, Steve Jobs created Macintosh and led Apple’s revolutionary ‘Think Different’ campaign. Macintosh provided a way to efficiently share information beyond human capability and the campaign allowed a peek into this entrepreneur’s secret to success. At the beginning of this game-changing venture Jobs said, “This revolution, the information revolution, is a revolution of free energy as well, but of another kind: free intellectual energy. It’s very crude today, yet our Macintosh computer takes less power than a 100-watt bulb to run it and it can save you hours a day. What will it be able to do ten or 20 years from now or 50 years from now?” Look what it has done and the opportunities it has created! Sure this venture generated income for Jobs, but not without providing others invaluable resources and information; Steve gave more than he could ever get back with what he provided the world.

2. Sophie Lizard

If you’re not a freelance writer, this name may sound like something out of Wildlife Treasury. But any blogger will tell you that we strive to reach Lizard level. She worked her buns off to make a name for herself in the industry. But instead of hoarding her knowledge to stay on top, she shares it on her website. If you’re a writer, check it out to learn everything from how to find work and who pays the most to how to produce quality content. Not all of her secrets are free, but she freely shares enough for a writer to truly take off in the industry because she understands that helping another person succeed does not take away from her success; in fact, it adds to it.

3. Tony Robbins

Okay, so I mentioned him in my last blog too, and I will mention him again in posts to come. Why? Because this life coach changes lives and his strategy works. Tony shares his secrets to success with others and in turn succeeds. Demonstrating this he said, “I discovered a long time ago that if I helped people get what they wanted, I would always get what I wanted and I would never have to worry.” And he does just that. His workshops are not free however his website does share empowering information to help people get ahead in life.

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I hope that this inspires you to share what you know to help others. A good leader knows how balance capitalizing on ideas with sharing them, and a great leader shares more than they sell. Thanks for allowing me to share this Monday mindset with you and please recycle any of it that you find valuable.

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