Knowledge is power—that is an unquestionable truth. On one hand, the whole world is totally immersed inside the information age, the knowledge era. The tools to successfully navigate it have already been developed and are both relatively accessible and extremely powerful. At the same time, the world is also fully immersed in an age of intensive and accelerated globalization. If these two elements are combined, the solution is within the problem itself. There is no way to overstate the importance of appropriately connecting the dots, tying up loose ends in order to achieve success in any human activity. This is a universal truth that knows no exceptions. It is such a simple truth that it is both humiliatingly simple and painfully obvious. However, judging by the enormous delays observed in most countries, it is clear that:
- We live on an inconceivable level of unconsciousness.
- There is a great lack of motivation to learn and an aberrant lack of interest in progressing. or alternatively…
- There is a genuine desire of progress, but we do not know how.
Personally, I feel that it is a combination of points three and one, in that order. Human and social capabilities are immense, so long as they are coordinated take advantage of them. There are more than enough capabilities to fulfill and take advantage of life’s many challenges, as well as medium- and long-range goals and needs. No one invented everything, and everyone can and should learn from everyone. The world’s best success stories at all levels are awash in highly effective learning from others. It is the
only well-known route to progress. Thomas Edison summed it up superbly: “Genius is 99 percent perspiration and 1 percent inspiration.”
Effective imitation is a true path to progress. Furthermore, it is an essential path to explore in order to excel at all levels. Every country that has successfully developed has broadly used learning by imitation. Probably the best examples are the Asian economies, from the Four Tigers in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, to China during the last three decades. Also, during Spain’s rapid development of the eighties, nineties, and a significant part of the first decade of the new millennium, it essentially reached the level of the rest of developed Europe. Spain emulated and reformatted itself into a close replica of the developed European countries, thus narrowing the gap with them. Chile has been undergoing a similar process during the past three decades with splendid results. As the popular proverb goes, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel.
The effect of imitation is extremely powerful. This is why it is essential to replicate anything and everything that is useful and constructive. And that is a most crucial aspect: it is critical to be able to distinguish right from wrong. Unfortunately, human nature picks up bad habits much more easily than good ones.
Imitation is the fundamental learning pattern from birth; that is how we learn to walk, talk, and ride a bicycle. It should not be surprising that this manner of behavior and learning goes on in a permanent basis, not just in infancy as a temporary pattern. However, what cannot be justified is that we adults do not seem to accept it easily. What a great opportunity missed!
And it isn’t only learning that operates that way. All human knowledge, no matter the area, essentially works in the same pattern. One example is electricity. Electricity was not invented by anyone. It was discovered and immediately began to be examined and analyzed by a myriad of scientists and researchers. One of the most picturesque and remarkable pioneers in these efforts was the self-taught Benjamin Franklin.
The same thing happens with the rest of physics and math. They deal, as does all human knowledge with existing relationships and structures. Humans have discovered, detected, studied, and analyzed them, developing and furthering our knowledge afterward. This is the only way to build up, to document, to apply, and most importantly, to transfer knowledge to future generations.
Social, political, economic, financial, and business areas are no different from the reasoning-and-learning pattern just described. Therefore, effectively tying those loose ends is of utmost importance. There is no way to overstate the importance of doing so adequately.