Pragmatic Lessons from My Pragmatic Wife


There are things that are nice to know. You don’t need to know them really, you can live without them but they are just nice to know. You can bombard people with these miscellaneous stuff either because you want them to know you know them or you want to do them a favor. But adults filter and retain only what’s practical to them.”

As always, I am totally hands down to the woman of my life for her expert words.

We were conversing about an officemate of mine requesting me to deliver my own technical lecture as an answer to the self-initiated lecture of a fellow senior engineer.

Admittedly, I told my wife that I am somewhat envious of that fellow senior for his audacity and initiative to give an unsolicited technical lecture to the junior engineers in the department. That’s when she told me that according to a LOT of researches conducted assessing the effective tools for learning (she’s an educator and a very good one at that!) lectures are the most inefficient and most unproductive method of teaching in which participants approximately digest only up to 15% of the lecture. So where’s the other 85% gone?

She explained further that the most effective way of teaching is imparting practical, doable ways and methods. Things that people can actually use or do. As adult learners, it is but common for us to pick only what’s useful at the moment and getting back to miscellaneous stuff (arguments corroborating the imparted practical tips and information) when someone has some free time to ponder about such things. This should come as no surprise since it is of the same way that evolution worked. We let go of what we don’t need, and that includes the miscellaneous “nice-to-know” things.

The internet for example has tons of scholarly articles and resources for practically every field imaginable that would’ve made masters of everyone who have access to them. But why is it that even if there is an information explosion we still cannot be all senseis of our chosen fields of expertise? Because we acquire and retain only those that are useful and practical to us.