We know these two.
They share the root “form”. And a chasm in-between.
Many of us consume INformation nonstop, believing this will TRANSform us into something better. We take courses, listen to podcasts, watch documentaries, and read words by the ton by our favorite experts. Acquiring INformation gives us a sense of accomplishment and, dare I say, bragging power. We love flaunting it and can get into bouts about who hoards the most or boasts the most accurate bits. It makes us feel smart and a forehead above those without.
But, what kind of “formation” does each address? Because the difference can make a life – or wrap it in illusion.
INformation means “facts about something or someone”. It is a representation of some object/event/idea through a system of symbols – a theoretical knowledge about something that can be transmitted or communicated.
The process for taking in INformation is cognitive: though it requires attention, it usually doesn’t take superhuman effort. Bits are encoded, transmitted, received, and decoded in a logical way. After repetition and/or sufficient focus, the receiver can make sense of and retain the new INformation.
Un/Luckily, INformation is never at a shortage nowadays. And we can’t get enough of it. We read, listen & collect ad infinitum.
That said, INformation is useful only to the degree to which it is applied. If it isn’t, it’s still stored somewhere, but unseen in the observable universe – a latent facsimile.
It is a form INside, though inconsequential OUTside.
INformation leads to the illusion of change or improvement. Though IT may sit collected in our minds, it doesn’t mean that WE are improving as individuals.
So, if INformation is relevant only to the degree to which it is put to use, why do we display it like a prancing peacock? Often that’s the ego taking the stage precisely because there’s no TRANSformation behind it. We feel inconsequential INside and attempt to compensate OUTside by determining who’s right or better.
Here’s where INformation and TRANSformation part ways.
TRANSformation is defined as “a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance”. If INformation is acquired through a cognitive process, the basis for TRANSformation is a different ballpark.
First, TRANSformation, at least in human terms, is not acquired by attention only; it is earned through application. It’s true that a lucky few have been through spontaneous combustion of the old and suddenly become a reorganized, upgraded version of what/who they were. But the rest of us need to put skin in the game first.
In order to TRANSform, we must let go of habitual thought and behavior. Put new INformation into action to align mind and body. And this process usually requires sweat & balls, as the mind will resist any changes to the INformation it already holds.
It will warn us of danger.
It will find ways to distract us.
It will put on the brakes as though we’re careening toward a cliff.
This is where the rubber meets the road – when we break onto a different perspective.
It’s where we choose whether to remain in the safety of the usual or venture into the unknown, scary territory of evolution.
INformation is consumption stored.
It implies acquiring in the mind.
It is based on the past.
It is relatively easy & simple.
TRANSformation is application experienced.
It implies partaking through the body against the gravitational pull of old programming.
It is your future becoming.
And it can be scary and painful AF.
What a difference a prefix can make!
Yes, this is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but don’t miss the message.
You may be thinking, “Dude, I already know this”.
Yes, but are you applying it?
As G.I. Joe used to say, “knowing is half the battle”.
The other half needs to be jockeyed.
So we can use IN- to create TRANS- and change our lives.
Or hoard it and brag on about the status quo.
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