Creating Success Part 1
In this first part of the Creating Success Trilogy, I develop the ground floor of success. The basis of Success is Information.
If you think about it, information is what enables us to function in the everyday world, no matter where, or when. From birth we are handed huge volumes of information to consume and integrate into our thought patterns. The human child goes through 15 to 20 years of absorbing information to be able to function as adults in our complex society. Our access to information determines what kind of life we have and how much wealth we accumulate. Kids in rich families don't get the same information as kids in poor families. They're taught different things and to think in different ways than poor kids. The information we have access to determines our expectations and affects our choices. The information we are exposed to even affects what questions we ask and predetermines the answers.
The reason that there are so many unhappy people in the world is because they know that something is wrong but they don't know what it is. They can't define the problem or the solution. The quality of information available to the average (non-affluent) person is limited, narrow, obsolete, opinionated hearsay. The daily conversation of the working class is filled with one-liners from the most popular sitcoms. Social standing is dependent on the advanced art of the best comeback to witty statements. In this environment nothing is accurate or original. You don't get points for originality. This is where the problem starts. Everybody is in the same boat, and it's leaking. The average person can't step out of their world temporarily and look at it objectively. They keep getting the same information presented in the same way which gives the same answers. I believe it's called a treadmill.
It's quite amazing to me that there is so much information available to anyone with a computer and a connection to the internet. Before the internet era, getting information meant having access to libraries. The elite university libraries were where the really neat books were. Of course, access was limited to upper class kids. The rest didn't even know those books existed.
Now, we have a vastly different problem. There is so much information available that we're totally overwhelmed. "There just isn't enough time, and I have people I need to text." "So, how do I know what's important anyway"? "Is it going to make me popular"? "Will it help me get the right job"? People have been trained to accept information "bursts". They don't seek information, they're hit with it, sometimes with consent and sometimes not.
So, the real value of information is not comprehended. The simple truth is that Information tells us about the nature of anything we care to look at. What it looks like, how it functions, what qualities it possesses, how it fits in with everything else, what it affects and how it is effected. It also enables us to look at the very abstract idea of meaning. What does what I am looking at "mean". Meaning is the hidden gem in information. Meaning is what elevates and transforms information into knowledge.
The more competent the source of the information, the more we can trust the picture the information is revealing to us. Accurate information in problem solving produces positive results. Failure to use accurate information usually brings negative or disastrous results. And here is the point of separation between the upbringing of rich and poor kids. The information shared in daily contact between rich parents and their kids is filled with information about being successful. How you talk, what you wear, what you do, how you recognize business opportunities, how you make money, how you use it, how you relate to those you hire. Years of exposure to this eventually build a world view ideally suited to being successful and wealthy. The total information/belief system is complete.
Contrast this with the upbringing of the poor (economically challenged). Visualize the dinner table (or couch) of a poor family. The information shared is about not being able to pay which bill this week, intermingled with comments about something stupid on the TV. "And you had better graduate so you can get a good job". They're not easy to find these days"." Look what they've done to this country". "All my buddies say we're in for bad times, I don't know what we're going to do"! "I'm just too old".
The information available to these two groups couldn't be farther apart. The rich group can't imagine what the problem is? "If they're poor, it's their own fault". The poor group can't imagine why the rich treat them so badly. "Can't they see what we're are going through? Life is hard"!
What separates the rich from the poor is what separates the successful from the unsuccessful. Accurate, complete, relevant, timely, meaningful Information. No matter what you are trying to do, then you owe it to yourself to use good information. Start with a conscious effort to see how good the information is you normally rely on. Develop the habit of accepting only the best information upon which to base your views and decisions. Don't be influenced to accept inferior information by those around you. This step is the critical one. If you aren't already doing this, then begin now.
When you are trying to solve a problem, define what you are looking for to the best of your ability. Then find the sources that contain the appropriate kind of information. Sources tend to specialize. Develop a method for analyzing the quality of information. One simple method involves posing the same question to multiple similar locations. Then compare the answers to get a sense of the quality. Pick the best one and use it. Academic sources can be useful for certain kinds of information because they tend to be more accurate and rigorous in their citations. They also have access to the latest research. Their information is shared more readily than with proprietary private research.
The information that you use determines your world view, which determines the options you have in life. If you are unsatisfied with your life, look at your bottom line to find the source of the problem and the solution.
The second part of the Creating Success Trilogy will explore Knowledge.
Ron Pettell November 2010