Where the River Goes – The Power of Retention vs New Knowledge

Too often and easy does life appear to resemble a path.

A journey of sorts.

But as of late, life is ever so slightly beginning to resemble something different; something not so linear.

I feel our minds have no choice but to show us a linear path.

Time forms this illusion of ‘a path’ when in actuality, I suspect we may come to discover that life is not a road nor a journey but an experience.

Why I feel this way is the reason for this small piece.

As I experience growth in my personal and professional life, if I was being honest – I’m not sure I am learning anything new.

My gut instinct, for the longest-run during this process, has been shame.

Shame of this naiveté.

But recently I have had time to truly pull apart this feeling and attempt to extract the lesson.

Some things that have come to mind during the process:

  • Just because we thought of something ‘new’ does not mean we’ve learned something new – New thoughts do not correlate with new skills or new knowledge. I’m coming across many ‘new things’ that are leading me back to things I’ve already “come to know”.

    I’m reminded of the Hindu adage that more or less states “all rivers lead to the same ocean”.

  • The more I push to expand my sense of consciousness, the more dense my intake of every moment that passes becomes and thus I am able to extrapolate more actual knowledge from the same time passed.

These recent learnings, if true, imply something very important.

What may be as valuable and perhaps arguably, more valuable than acquiring new knowledge is the ability to better retain and deploy knowledge we have already come to know.

I feel like I’m losing engagements, not because there are skills I do not have or things I do not know – but because of my abated recall of various skills and knowledge.

I think I’ve undervalued the power of sleep and the power of retention.

It’s funny, imbedded in the culture of my investment management firm is power of the preservation of capital (not losing money is of greater value than producing a return).

This fundamental principle is why I’ve been so successful in the realm of investment management; it was the foundational insight and unlock that gave me the courage to venture out and start my own firm in the first place.

“We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” 

T.S. Eliot

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