Knowing What You Don’t Know

by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

Have you ever met someone that apparently knows so much about a vast variety of topics and you are impressed about this knowledge? This person has the ability to keep you spellbound with stories, information and facts about almost any subject being discussed. If at a party or celebration event, this person seems to be most popular as the flow of conversation is never boring when that person is around. Maybe we’d call it a magnetism that attracts other guests to the conversation circle this person is part of that day.  I know several people like that who are able to join in any conversation with fascinating tidbits that everybody wants to hear. They are not monopolizing the conversation, only enhancing it. That’s a skill! How do some people know enough about a multitude of topics to converse intellectually about them and never seem at a loss? Where did all this knowledge come from besides schooling? For me, certain topics come to mind when I think of areas where my proficiency is at a minimum such as astronomy, music by classical composers and the works of Shakespeare. Our teacher covered Hamlet and Macbeth in English literature class, but reading about other plays on my own was never pursued. Of course we can’t forget the “hobby” interests as I like to call it for sports enthusiastic that can quote statistics, who was the MVP of a team, what homeruns, baskets or touch downs were made. If an individual’s interest is in a sport for a pastime such as surfing, fishing, golf or skiing the terminology and equipment needed is well known and where the best spots are for this hobby. No matter the topic, learning and enhancing ones knowledge shouldn’t stop once formal education is over.  Knowing about a host of subjects makes one a more interesting person to know and one whose remarkable sense of knowledge makes friendships more appealing. Let’s be honest, do you have any friends that you value them for many reasons, yet have discovered they seem to be “out of the loop” whenever you bring up a range of topics to chat about? Their blank stare reveals that often even the most mundane topics in the news, local events or chatting about an historical documentary you want to share shows the person is clueless. Then you might move on to a lesser complex topic to talk about so that person can hopefully participate.

Josh Gates of Discovery Channel’s “Expedition Unknown.” Courtesy Discovery Channel

Reading various magazines and books are ways to continue to grow mentally about a host of unfamiliar topics. What is the last book you’ve read? Reading keeps your mind open to learning about unique cultures or places that may never be visited, especially if you aren’t a traveler. Then there is selective television viewing combing relaxation viewing of popular weekly programs and with an addition of finding time for topics on more educational channels.  There are all kinds of wonderful shows that include documentaries on a host of topics ranging from nature, science, history, health, technology and biographies of our greatest American explorers, entertainers, inventors and military heroes. Here are some of the channels you may want to visit and explore for your viewing pleasure: The History Channel, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, The Science Channel and Animal Planet to name a few. Another one we recently discovered is CuriosityTV that features all sorts of documentaries. For children there is the Learning Channel, Nickelodeon, Nick, Jr. and many more. I would suggest browsing to find several channels that your family enjoys and check them often to see the latest topic being covered. Not only will this be a learning experience for the whole family, but it will provide a host of fascinating topics that you will enjoy sharing with others that may have missed that program.