For some years, when I heard some people talk in conferences or teach in the Church even, I’d wonder why they talk about certain things. It felt quite repetitive to me listening to certain topics treated in some webinars on leadership, finance, family, education. And because I was (still am) a voracious reader, if I picked up a book and the ideas seemed like ideas I already knew, I’d lose interest in it because I’m always in search of fresh ideas that would wow me. I’m not by any means that intelligent nor wise, I just love freshness: new ideas and revelations. I’m always in search of inspiration and new understandings of God’s Word.
This made me that if I’m discussing with someone or when I’m privileged to teach in the Church, you’ll rarely hear me talk about some things. Why? I just felt that everyone knew the things, so why bore them with repetition. If you organised a religious or academic conference and you invited me to speak, I’d humbly decline because I felt I had nothing new to offer your audience. Everyone already knew whatever ideas I’d be sharing; so, what’s the need for recycling the ideas. I was basically projecting my inner thoughts to others.
In the last 2-3 years, I’ve watched some seminars held by young people and read their writeups on social media. While many people were wowed at their ideas, almost everything looked recycled to me. I don’t know but the ideas basically rehearsed what I already knew. So, I’d often ask myself, why do people pay money to hear these things? I mean, some of these are stuff I could teach comfortably. It’s just that I lack the courage to talk about them in public because I believe that everyone already knows them. I just thought everyone has already read the same books or watched the same videos that I have watched over the past 12 years or so.
But something happened a few weeks ago, I was following yet another webinar on finance (you know, I love to also learn things outside medicine and surgery). Some of the things the experienced organiser taught were things I already knew. This time, however, instead of getting bored and moving on to the next thing, I decided to listen until the end.
During the teaching, he said something that got me thinking for days. He pointed out how one should teach the things he knows because not everyone knows those things. He cited the instance of a university student teaching basic sciences to secondary school students. And that struck me. All the while I had thought everyone was in the university with me, forgetting that some people are in secondary school. I was once in secondary school, and if I found someone teaching biology or physics then, I’d patiently listen. If my teachers then thought that I already knew what they know, they wouldn’t teach me at all.
Moreover, people sometimes need reminders. I took anatomy lessons years ago, but if I hear someone discussing anatomy today, I’d listen with keen interest because I need that constant reminder of things I know and many things I’ve forgotten. That’s the way it is for some people as well; they need reminders of what they may have known already.
Those simple things you think everyone knows is actually what people need. The people you think know those things do not know them. After all, you didn’t know them until you heard or read them from other people, or you got them by inspiration or experience. If you doubt what I’m saying, ask your audience questions. You’ll be surprised that many of them do not know or may have forgotten. So, teach what you have learnt, someone among your audience needs it.
And come to think of it, the principles for success in business, leadership, ministry, medicine and surgery, politics and indeed almost all spheres of life have remained unchanged over these decades. Yes, there are some adjustments and adaptations here and there, but they’re pretty much what a young public speaker is teaching students in a university environment and what a guru teaches to the top CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Just adjustments, adaptations, and experience.
So, I’ve decided to start talking about things I thought everyone knew about. I wouldn’t mind holding webinars on an array of interesting topics that I’ve kept to myself over the years. Because in the end, not everyone knows the things that I know. And some people need reminders too.