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Are you informed?

Would you consider yourself an informed individual?

More importantly, whose definition of “informed” do you use as the standard by which you measure yourself? Is it yours? Did it come from school? Your parents? The news? Somewhere else?

I recently overheard a conversation in which someone asked “who is Donald Trump?” The rest of the people in the group laughed and one of the individuals said “you really need to be more informed.”

We live at a time when it is possible to have read the complete works of James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, and Ralph Waldo Emerson and still be dismissed as uninformed if you’ve never seen an episode of Jersey Shore.

The reverse is also true. There are people who recite from memory every Major League Baseball record while having never read Shakespeare and possessing little knowledge of what “Occupy Wall Street” is all about.

In a world like this, how do we decide who’s informed and who’s not?

Here’s my two cents:

Nobody gets to define what it means to be informed, but you.

Why?

Because information, no matter what kind it is, only has relevance in relationship to a desired result. And you are the one who gets to decide what results you wish to create in your life.

Don’t let anyone hang their standards over you. There will always be people who know about things that you’re uninformed about. So what! Don’t measure yourselves by them. Their goals are not your goals. Their notion of “the good life” may not suit you one bit. Determine what YOU want out of life and create your own concept of what it means to be “informed” by going after the information that will help you create that result.

Information is a tool. Our value is not determined by the tool. The value of the tool is determined by the meaning and application we give to it. An informed person is someone who knows how to access and appropriate the resources around them for the purposes they have freely chosen for themselves.

Life is not about looking smart for others. Life is about being the deliberate creator of your own experiences. If you’re doing that, then you are informed in the only way that really matters.

That’s my two cents,

T.K. Coleman

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