Ignorance Is Not Bliss: How to Garner Authoritative Knowledge

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” – Derek Bok

Vague information isn’t just frustrating; it can be dangerous to both your readers and your credibility. Anyone can dole out generic information that they found on the Internet, but it doesn’t make them an expert. Providing ambiguous content or information that’s already saturating the market can achieve the opposite effect. It may make you appear uniformed. And that ignorance (even if it’s just the perception of ignorance) is an expensive waste of time and money.

Let’s take a step back for a second: An expert is someone who has authoritative knowledge in their niche that has been garnered through prolonged or intense experience. If you are an expert in a field who lacks extensive insight on a particular topic or you’re out-of-touch with trends in your niche, you can gain first-hand experience to acquire knowledge! All you have to do is open up to continuous learning.

Before you throw an apple at my head, allow me to explain: continuous learning isn’t about reentering the classroom or taking a course. It’s about developing your reflection and inquiry skills that are necessary for critical thinking. It’s also about turning your personal and professional life into your own laboratory for exploration and innovation – the ultimate cure for ignorance.

12 Tips to Create Your Own Innovation Laboratory

  • Be receptive by voraciously consuming information. Immerse yourself into a topic every day. Shadow those who are in the field, conduct interviews, experiment to gain first-hand experience, and connect with real people.
     
  • The better your mind and body is, then the better your ability to retain information. Make sure you drink enough water, get enough sleep, exercise, and consider eating healthier foods that target optimal brain function.
     
  • Stop multitasking. Research suggests multitasking can actually make you less effective. Focus on what’s in front of you by eliminating distractions and practice better time management.
     
  • Refine your speed-reading skills. Speed reading will help you consume information faster by filtering out irrelevant information and put a spotlight on new and important information.
     
  • Get visual by mapping out a topic or create an information pyramid that builds up from the basics to the most complex point. Consider broader applications of your topic by analyzing the when, where, and why it is important as well as for whom and how.
     
  • Connect new topics to those already in your existing “knowledge bank.” How does the new information fit into the framework of the old? Or is it a game changer?
     
  • Examine what you know and ask yourself probing questions. Anything that you can’t answer or may not have a strong answer in, make an on-going research to-do list.
     
  • Read, listen, and watch. Increase the variety of ways you consume information through a multi-media approach that touches on both visual and auditory learning. Listen to lectures, read articles, watch videos, look at charts, and much more.
     
  • Collaborate and connect with your professional peers and actually engage in discussions with them rather than passively adding them to your network. Make valuable relationships that will grow.
     
  • Allow your interests and passions to cross pollinate. This will not only lend motivation, it will help you approach a topic with a new and more meaningful perspective.
     
  • Ditch your computer. Writing long hand has shown to stimulate ideas, so ditch the computer and other tech (when brainstorming at least!). Carry a notebook with you at all times to record meditative thoughts or jot down an idea that suddenly came to you.
     
  • Consider the source:
    • Who is providing the information (e.g., credible author vs. “admin”)?
    • Why are they telling you the information (i.e., unbiased vs. self-serving)?
    • Are they providing evidence that supports their stance or are they dropping generalizations?
    • Are there holes in their logic?
    • Did they leave key information out to spin a topic in their favor or manipulate your understanding of the topic?

Open yourself up to all sorts of information and ideas by using these tips to avoid any poor impressions that vague, unoriginal information gives readers.

How do you stay on top of your niche and brainstorm fresh ideas?

9 Comments »


1
Carol Malone writes:

This is fabulous information. I write for a friends blog about my writers journey and I don’t want to come off as being an authority when I’m not. Building a writer’s culture is a slow process, but worth it. I will consult your list when writing my next post. Thank you.

Comment provided December 11, 2013 at 11:32 AM

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2
brianna writes:

Thank you for all of these messages. I read everyone, even if I have yet to become actively involved in conversations or publishing on EzineArticles yet. I’ve been doing an extreme amount I’d multitasking because as my site states, i’m disabled and actively fighting for my rights in every aspect of my life. I do apply the methods suggested in that area but when it comes to my writing, since I have limited time, that process is also limited. I would love to change that and i’m slowly getting there, but as you stated early on health comes first. I keep many notebooks and write in detail about all my goals it just feels as though I need to work on time management and reach out to experts in the field more. Please continue to share your wealth of knowledge, though i’m silent I really appreciate it!

Comment provided December 11, 2013 at 12:04 PM

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Sounds great, Brianna!

Remember we are a community and are always here to help and encourage one another. Keep up the fantastic work!

~Vanessa

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3
Lance Winslow writes:

That was a scary post for me, it’s like you have been following me and observing and writing down what I do every day. I therefore, second these recommendations.

Comment provided December 11, 2013 at 7:44 PM

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4

Very useful tips for an Author. Carrying a scribbling pad for jotting down the ideas when they strike in our mind is the best tip.

Comment provided December 11, 2013 at 11:13 PM

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5

Fantastic tips. I always gain new ideas from your tutorials. Very refreshing.

Comment provided December 12, 2013 at 4:26 AM

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6
Yochana Coleman writes:

I love this. It goes against so much of what is being taught out there. Like, don’t worry about how much you know, just find a few articles, and rewrite what they’ve said.

Or, read 5 books and you’re an expert. No, you’re not. You’ve simply read 5 books and know more than you did before.

The trend waters down what “expert” really means. Thanks for calling it what it really is. :)

Comment provided December 13, 2013 at 12:22 PM

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7
Matthew Morris writes:

Learning continuously is one of the themes I write my articles around. I hope that I am smart enough to follow my own advice.

Comment provided December 13, 2013 at 8:24 PM

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8
Mike Andrews writes:

The best way is to write content that originates from one’s own mind and not from the internet. Even if the article is not top quality it is your own article. People will respect, trust and notice you because of that. In this World of competition being noticed is extremely important.

Comment provided December 14, 2013 at 12:35 PM

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