The idea behind continuous learning is not to memorize an infinite series of facts, figures, and techniques; so much so that you can recall them on command—no, the idea behind continuous learning is to seek out that which interests you and only keep that which applies.
Take, for example, my multiple black belts. Do you think I can remember every single technique, from ever single style, from every single form, from every single maneuver? It would be impossible. Each unique style holds with it an incumbent set of moves in order to rank up in the system. However, when it comes down to it, how many of those moves will be utilized (let alone, be practiced to perfection) so much so that they can be put to use in a real altercation? Maybe 10-or-so?
Or how about the 150+ books I’ve read thus far. Do you think I can recite every single example, from every single sentence, from every single lesson provided in each book? Again, another impossibility. Each book holds with it its own unique set of examples, sentences, and lessons; hence, its ability to be called its own unique body of work.
Or the different sects of spirituality and religion I’ve explored. Do you think I can recount every parable, every sequence, in every order, all the way down to each character’s bit of dialogue? There are so many different derivations of belief systems out there that it would be like trying to hold onto a grain of sand as you walk through the desert in a sandstorm. Good luck!
Ultimately, the brain possesses a limited amount of storage space, and it will often make room by overriding previously incorrect sequences or sets of data (how else could you move past solving for x incorrectly into knowing how to do it every time? It’s called learning). And for what it can’t remember, but believes it still does, it will create what is called a pseudo-memory in order to bolster its own importance. Think about it, what did you wear on your first day of kindergarten? Impossible to tell, but the mind will have you believe it knows what the truth really is.
In actuality, what happens when you learn, and learn, and learn, is that you begin to pick up and organize a set of principles for a variety of different categories. The more you continue to study, the more you will come to realize the interconnectedness of most things; and thereby divvy up concurrent facts accordingly. One thing will eventually lead to another thing, which will (in turn) set up a series of other domino-like effects to have you realize more things later on. It’s about gathering the principles and not adhering solely to the program that you are currently undertaking for an indefinite amount of time. This is because we are constantly refining and coming up with new information and ways of looking at the world.
Perhaps the most salient example of this can be found in today’s modern Mixed Martial Arts. Contemporarily, you will see many different practitioners from different disciplines applying various skillsets which they believe to be applicable to them and their own body type; devoid of it being from their specified system or not (UFC 1 is far more different from UFC 231). Long gone are the days of the singular “Karate Man”, the “Judoka”, the “Sambo Fighter” or the “Eskrimador”. Now, we are beginning to see the emergence of the “Striker”, the “Grappler” and the “Weapons Specialist”. Pretty soon, we’ll just be calling them “Fighters”.
Life always starts out without a box; only to be placed into it for everything to all to make sense; only to realize later on that the box was a figment of our own imagination and what makes sense, makes sense regardless of its stereotype or origin.
To quote the immortal words of the renowned street artist, Banksy, “…think from outside the box, collapse the box and take a f***ing sharp knife to it.”
-now go Do Work, Son!