“We will be better men, braver and less idle, if we believe that one must search for the things one does not know, rather than if we believe that it is not possible to find out what we do not know and that we must not look for it.” – Plato
Tacit knowledge is that kind of knowledge which is not easily transferrable. For instance, you could explain as clearly as possible to someone how to ride a bike, but they won’t acquire that knowledge until they go out and do it for themselves.
How to be a better person requires a lot of tacit knowledge as well. Someone could explain to you how to be a better person, but you wouldn’t actually get it until you live the experience for yourself. So, what is it exactly that we need to do?
Well, there’s no one right answer for this, there are many. I’ve come up with this list of suggestions:
- Realize you don’t know: Once you are humble enough to accept this, you will be free to open your mind and start learning from places you never thought you could learn from.
- Get out of your comfort zone: Go out and do. When you put yourself in situations you have never experienced before, you are opening the doors to learning. We don’t learn from what we already know.
- Surround yourself with people you admire: There’s a saying that says that you’ll end up being like the five people you hang out with the most. When we spend a lot of time with someone, we start imitating their gestures, their thought patterns, their views of the world. Much of this learning is tacit.
- Pop-out of the system: It’s hard for us to understand ourselves, to objectively look at our actions, because we’re in the system. By asking others for feedback, we’re able to somehow pop-out of that system and start looking at ourselves from an outside perspective. We need to build a group of people we trust and that we can go to for honest feedback.
Tacit knowledge on how to be a better person cannot be taught, it can only be learned. The first step would then be to cultivate the will to learn.
It’s incredible how little time people dedicate to thinking what it means to be a better person, or what actions they can take to start working towards it.
Now, stop for a second and realize that just by starting to think about how you can be better, you’re already on the road there.