“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.”
- Thomas Henry Huxley,
At the center of human evolution, lies a deep desire to learn and understand the ways of the world we live-in. It is this quest that sets sailors off their coasts to find far away mystic lands and philosophers in search of answers to mankind's most intriguing questions. When we witness something unusual in our daily life, it makes us ponder. We ask ourselves "what is this?", "why did this happen?", and "how did it happen?". Answering such fundamental questions, will set us out on a journey of discovery. While geographical exploration led to bringing the world closer and in turn making it smaller, the journey of scientific discovery has created an abundance of information that led to more questions. As a consequence of this never ending process, we understand a few things but we know a lot more. There is a fundamental difference between knowing and understanding.
“Knowing is not understanding. There is a great difference between knowing and understanding: you can know a lot about something and not really understand it.”
American Inventor, Engineer, and Businessman.
Knowing is an external process that is based on an individual's interaction with their environment. On the other hand, understanding begins with the information an individual already knows that initiates a process of internalization. This facilitates application of the acquired knowledge in a way that the individual sees fit. It also places the individual on a unique platform where they may be able to contribute to the existing body of knowledge. Thus, initiating a cyclic process that involves a network of individuals going through the stages of learning, understanding, implementing, and, eventually, innovating.
With that broader perspective in mind, I define mentoring as a process that provides mentees with the necessary knowledge they need to better understand the ways of the world we live in, and ignite their process of internalization along the way.