How Do You Know

school classroom

Back In School Again

When you were a young person in school, it was your job to learn. Well, kind of. It was your job anyway to go to school and sit there. Nobody could really make you learn anything, but that is kind of what they hoped would happen if you stayed there long enough.

So the time you spent practicing how to sign your name in cursive and how to add and subtract fractions and decimals and memorizing who the leaders of your country were in the past is time that maybe was well spent and maybe not so much.

signing documents

Glad I Learned To Write

Could be if your job now requires you to sign a lot of documents or figure out things like how much it is altogether when  you add 2/3 of a cup of milk to 3/8 of a cup of vinegar or you work on the Jeopardy Clue Crew, those things are pretty useful to you. And that is cool.

jeopardy thinker

Let's Go All In

But if you don’t need to do any of those things and Alex Trebek is not your boss, how do you know if what you learned before is of value to you now.

Or maybe you are a person who has a couple of advanced degrees from a university and you are now a certified expert in the social practices of a group of people in Ecuador or you’re working in a laboratory analyzing how much residue is left after you burn up a pair of socks made from a new manmade fabric.

Those could be pretty cool jobs if you like them, but in all probability you probably learned more useful information during your first day on the job than you did in 4 or 6 or 8 years of university. So how do you know if what you learned before is of value to you now?


Just Breathe

Or maybe you are someone who has done most of their learning outside of a school, from books and tapes and seminars and just by experience. Could be you’ve studied yoga or meditation and mind/body integration and aura reading and all kinds of other interesting ideas that are somewhat off the beaten track from a regular education.

But unless you’re working in a  new age shop or a yoga studio or as an intuitive counselor or a life coach of some kind, how do you know if what you learned before is of value to you now. How do you rally tell the difference between (the facts kind of knowing) - knowledge and wisdom (knowing things that are really valuable)

This is a good question –

How Do You Know ?

And it has a good answer, one which is not difficult to understand.

When you learn something for the first time, or even the second or third time, it is new. No surprise there, of course it is. But what I mean is, it is different than what you know now and seems somehow disconnected from you. Almost as if the new thing, the new idea, the new thought is a stranger to the way you currently think.

And after you practice something for a little while, you do it over and over again until you are good at that way of thinking or doing something, it becomes easy and almost a habit. So that it doesn’t take much thinking about to get it done. Kind of like the way you know you are going to have to number your paper from 1 to 10 In order to take a surprise quiz.


I Didn't Study

There is that moment when you take the pen in your hand and you think “OK, 1 through 10, I can do that” and then you do. A little bit of thinking and then you do it.

What happens with stuff like this, though, is that if you don’t keep up a regular pattern of doing it, you become rusty and you have to go back to consciously thinking about it before you can accomplish it. And sometimes, if enough time has passed by, say between, geometry class and now, you pretty much forget that you ever knew how to organize a proof to show that 2 triangles were congruent.

So what’s the answer to how do you know if you really know if something you learned is of value to you now or not?

You don’t know. But . . .

You do KNOW

With things that you have learned and brought inside of you, those things become a part of who you are. You can no more keep them separate from your mind that you can keep your finger separate from your hand. Those things that you truly, honestly, deeply know inside of you, you will not be able to separate them out from who you are to say to someone, “I learned that, and it still serves me to this day” As a matter of fact, if anyone asked you about this, you would be stumped for an answer to explain why you think this way.

Because the new thing you learned has become a part of your soul, and you can’t even imagine a time in your life when it wasn’t that way.s a really great product!


When you can’t explain why you think or act in a certain way without spending hours and hours trying to figure it out, then you know that whatever it was you learned is of value to you today. When you can’t separate the person you are from the knowledge and understanding you have,

You are whole and

You are secure and

You know It




10 Comments on “How Do You Know”

  1. susan

    Ha ha! I wish that, as a child, I could have said to my parents, “I do not want to learn history. Or science. REALLY.” So is that considered to be a waste of one’s time? Thank You for another fine look at reality.


    1. Michael

      Maybe not a difficulty so much with learning about history or science so much as the way you were taught to think. To substitute the opinions of someone else for your own when your own experience(even as a child) are telling you one thing is true while an authority figure is telling you that it is not true can make for a bit of difficulty in learning to trust your own judgement.

      There are some things it is important to learn the first time and let them stay in your own reality as truth. Things like “Don’t put your hand on a hot stove burner, or you are going to get hurt.” Those make sense and are good to have as part of your life. Lots of other things we learn as being true turn out to be not so much true as the opinion of another.

      Things we learn to keep as truth for ourselves are mostly unconscious and those are the things we create our lives from.

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