Planting seeds of knowledge

Exposure learning is great for understanding the big picture. To understand concepts and benefits without delving into details that will be forgotten. To survey the landscape.

Ideally you’ll walk away with benefits in mind and some understanding of when you can apply the concepts to attain said benefits. But that’s not always the case. And it need not be.

Much of the knowledge you encounter won’t come with immediately apparent benefits. But each time you encounter it, it’s like a little seed is planted in your mind. The more you encounter a particular concept, the more seeds get planted. These are like seeds of intuition.

The unique needs of a future situation will provide the water for these seeds to grow. When that happens, you’ll know where to look for the information you need to continue your learning.

This type of exposure learning is so important, I encourage you to include it as part of your routine.

But, you have to be very careful not to over do it. Here are some rules to avoid going overboard:

The objective

Remember the objective here is mere exposure to ideas with the hope that they’ll come to mind when you need them in the future.

Absolutely no details

You should be well aware that you’ll forget most of what you learn. When using exposure learning for the big picture, details help solidify the big picture. When planting seeds, you have no idea what the big picture might be about. And you won’t know the big picture when you’re done learning.

Limit your time

The only reasonable constraint to put on this type of learning is an amount of time. You have to decide what that is, just don’t go overboard. An hour a week is probably more than enough.


With this type of learning, you don’t have time to read articles. You want to read headlines. You may want to flag things you want to read later. Have a means to quickly put them on a wish list. Plant seeds, don’t spend time alphabetizing your learning wish list.

Don’t take notes. Don’t obsess over details. Don’t get off track and read articles.

Exposure to the big picture is like learning from a 10,000 foot view. Planting seeds with the above approach is more like a 20,000 or 30,000 foot view.