It is likely that you are familiar with the phrase, ‘knowledge itself is power’ – first written by famous philosopher, Sir Francis Bacon, in 1597 and echoed ubiquitously throughout history. Today, accord with its meaning resounds more strongly than ever. It is why intelligence sits at the forefront of national security, it is what founds our concerns over AI, and explains America’s unease at ownership of TikTok being with a Chinese company, ByteDance. Whilst knowledge is an ever-appreciating currency on the global stage, its value appears somewhat forgotten on the individual level.
One way to acquire knowledge – and by far my favourite – is through reading. Books enable travel through time and transportation across places. With them it is possible to meet historical figures, explore ancient cultures, travel around the world, and speak any language; you can engage in new activities and understand unfamiliar disciplines. The scope to learn is limitless. Thus, when I stumble into a bookstore or a library exhibiting grandeur, I find myself imbued with a sense that the world is my oyster. Such an experience elucidates Sir Francis Bacon’s equation of knowledge with power: the more one knows, the greater their ability to determine the future.
Learning, however, can feel redundant day to day, especially in the working world where time and necessity are dictators and the knowledge to ensure business as usual is already possessed. In this way, monotonous routines develop, often with negative consequences for individuals. Common complaints centre around declining mental health, feelings of being ‘stuck’ personally and professionally, the absence of drive, and the lack of confidence sufficient to enact change. If any such statement resonates with you, acquiring new knowledge, work related or otherwise, might offer an improved outlook
Happiness. Novel experiences trigger the release of dopamine in the brain – a neurotransmitter often dubbed, ‘the happy hormone’. Learning something new and interesting, therefore, can evoke feelings of happiness in a similar way to exercising or eating a chocolate bar.
Self-determination. Lack of education often acts as a barrier to attainment. A job, for example, might demand a university degree or a volunteering opportunity require a second language. It can feel as though you’ve been removed from the driver’s seat when faced with limited choices. Expanding your knowledge is one way to ensure a greater number of opportunities are available to you.
Increased ambition. In a favourite song of my dad’s, the artist sings, “If I hadn't seen such riches
I could live with being poor”. This speaks to the fact that one cannot desire what they do not know of. Learning about new disciplines, skills, societies, or cultures, can help to broaden your horizons and make perceptible the endless possibilities in existence.
Greater confidence. Feeling knowledgeable on a subject can lead to increased social participation, be that with friends in a conversation or at work within a meeting. Positive social interactions contribute to feelings of well-being by stimulating the release of oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine.
Learning doesn’t have to be arduous; it could take on the form of a book, podcast, or documentary. Alternatively, opportunities might be available through your workplace, such as training courses, seminars, or conferences. DMJ is another source for anyone seeking a wider knowledge base related to governance. Whether you are a trainee candidate wanting to know of career prospects, or an experienced professional hoping to learn from colleagues, DMJ offers insight days and roundtable events respectively. Their dedication to the provision of knowledge within the market is one of the reasons I am so delighted to be joining.