A typical adult has…

…seen more lands than Marco Polo…

…read more philosophy than Confucius…

…heard more music than Mozart.

And so on and so on.

So how do we gain more of Confucius’s wisdom? Marco Polo’s curiosity?

We have already consumed so much. Taken in and absorbed and eaten more than kings and popes and most presidents.

But all of this quantity only gets us so far. Diminishing returns, that diminish quickly.

Understanding and using and mining what we already have is far harder. But it’s also far more valuable.

The easy thing to do is consume more: Read more books. Travel to more cities. Listen to more hit Billboard songs and watch popular TV shows. Go back to school to do homework and take exams. Always seeking more and new and novel.

But something tells me this is the easy part of the journey, the journey to where we want to go. It’s the part we’ve traveled many times over. Where we keep getting stuck on the same mountain pass, lost in the same valley.

But over that pass, through that valley, lies the beautiful destination. The place where Mozart composed his sonatas, where Marco Polo lived his stories, where Confucius discovered and shared his worldview.

I guess I’m just complaining that I don’t create enough. Input so much, and output so little. How do I – how do we – flip this equation? How do we make the most of the much that we already possess, of each little bit?

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.