I Learn Outloud

I talk a lot. I talk about things I understand, but sometimes I talk even more about things I don’t understand. Its how I learn.

People who don’t really know me can be forgiven for thinking me arrogant, a pretentious “know it all”. Sorry, folks. I can’t seem to shut up.

Talking aloud is how I make sense of things. Talking is how I sort out my thoughts and test out new theories. I like to explain things to people so I can see how well I understand them. Sometimes I explain things about which I have no clue just to find where my gaps are.

I used to think of this particular trait as a a kind of character flaw. I’m learning not to dwell so much on the idea of character flaws. Seth Godin’s post, “Stick to What You (Don’t) Know” helps a lot.

Required reading if you are like me and find yourself saying things before you realize you are thinking them.

To quote Walt Whitman, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.”

3 thoughts on “I Learn Outloud

  1. Many, perhaps most, people who talk about things they don’t understand fully are not looking to learn, they’re looking for agreement. Because that’s how most people converse, as a social exercise rather than as an intellectual one. There are lots of good social benefits to that, but it often leads to multiplied stupidity (or at least ignorance).

    I don’t think you do this. You listen and revise your thoughts as you go. We all start out ignorant, and we’ll stay that way unless we have some way to test our thoughts against reality.


    • Thanks, Daryl. Once again, you have clarified my own thoughts for me. We don’t learn by talking about stuff we don’t understand. We learn by listening closely to how others respond to us when we talk about stuff we don’t understand.


      • Well, yes, but let me be a pain in the butt by saying it’s not always necessary only to listen. More that you don’t expect (or even demand) that the other person agree with you. Sometimes the other person(s) may be ignorant on the same subject and not have much to contribute, but still the act of verbalizing will help clarify your thoughts. Same as writing things down. Or talking to yourself, even.

        But I don’t think you ever come across (to me, at least!) as a “know-it-all”, because you are willing to listen as well as talk.


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