33% of U.S. high school graduates will never read a book after high school and 42% of college students will never read another book after they graduate. While this statistic is disheartening, it’s not surprising. Our education system is structured in a way that turns everyone into well-rounded people all the way through undergraduate classes in university instead of allowing individuals to solely focus on the things they care about for those fifteen years. Of course, this is because most sixth graders have no idea what they want to do for the rest of their lives, so it’s a good idea to show them options. On the other hand, forcing people to study various subjects for which they care nothing for will leave anyone looking for something else.
So, what are we to do post-graduation? After studying texts and lectures, merely to pass our exams, what do we do to ensure long-term learning? Find a curiosity for something valuable. It was physicist Albert Einstein who said, “I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.” American author, William Arthur Ward, also said, “Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.” And if curiosity was good enough for Einstein and Ward, then it is surely enough for the rest of us.
If you need another reason to relentlessly pursue curiosity, even after reading about brilliant individuals such as Einstein and Ward crediting their success to it, here’s one: Above all else, curiosity ensures that we never believe we have it all figured out. Author John Maxwell said, “The greatest enemy of learning is knowing.” And if that wasn’t enough, the Greek philosopher Socrates said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
I love learning new things, but is there more to this story than the need to continually store up knowledge? There has to be.
Do you never want to stop learning? Find a curiosity for something that matters, and then above all else, do something with it. Because while learning is invaluable, if you have all the knowledge in the world and do nothing with it, you’ve squandered the most valuable opportunity available–to make a difference in the world.