A great story: Albert Einstein was being interviewed by a reporter, who avidly took notes. When the interview was completed, the reporter asked if he could follow up with a phone call if he had any further questions. Einstein graciously consented. “May I have your phone number?” the reporter asked. Einstein went over to a phone book, looked up his number, and gave it to the reporter, who couldn’t help but ask, “How is it, sir, that you don’t know your own number?” Einstein’s reply: “I never memorize anything that I can research.”
Wow, that little sentence packs a powerful punch! Think about how crowded all our heads are with things we don’t really need to store there! Maybe we all need to guard our psychic space more carefully, just as our boy Albert did. Recently, my wonderful dharma teacher Eileen gave our group a provocative question to ponder: “What’s worth knowing?”
Like many of you, I’m sure, I’m struggling with runaway emails: every day they pile up and crowd my virtual mailbox and trouble my brain. How many of them do I really need to read? How many of them are going to help me reach my goal of getting to the next level in my writing?
Magazines are also big in my reading universe: I’m always looking for tips on feeling healthier and self-development. But how much of the small oceans of ink I’ve read over the last few years has really stuck — really made a difference in my life? Not a whole lot, if I’m honest with myself.
Don’t get me wrong: I love my email inbox. And I doubt that I’ll kick my magazine habit any time soon — it’s fun and relaxing. But when it comes to information overload, I’ve started asking myself “What’s worth knowing?” as a way of cajoling myself into thinking about what really matters to me when it comes to how I’m spending my time. How about you? What’s worth knowing for you?