What I Don’t Know
As someone who has written a few books and more than a thousand Personal Development articles for this site, I’m still acutely aware of my ignorance, incompetence and lack of understanding of many things. Most things, in fact. The old saying “the more I learn, the more I realise how little I know” is indeed relevant for me. Having said that, if I was to wait until I felt ‘knowledgeable enough’ (to do my job), I’d never write or speak (professionally) again.
For me, one of the fundamental keys to authentic learning and growth has been humility and vulnerability; two things that often don’t sit well with many of us. Me included. Humility to say “I really don’t know but I want to learn” or “I was wrong”. And vulnerability to put ourselves in situations that will be uncomfortable and risky but potentially transformational.
On websites such as this, it’s feel-good, fluffy and convenient to say things like “I’m a seeker and student” (the mantra of the self-help junkie) but the truth is, genuine growth and transformation is often more about unlearning than it is, learning. Unlearning destructive habits, behaviours and patterns. You know the ones. It’s been my experience that many people are only interested in the process of personal development when they are not required to challenge or question any of their existing beliefs.
Sadly, some people find it far easier to criticise and condemn others (people who don’t align with their world view) than they do to even consider the possibility that, on some level, their perspective might be flawed. Or that there might be another truth. Of course, this kind of negative reaction is understandable when we consider that their paradigm (and all that comes with it) is all they have ever known. Naturally, they are so emotionally and historically invested in certain beliefs that the very idea of them being erroneous is unthinkable. So they don’t.
Think about it, that is.
From a personal development perspective, the hardest thing I’ve had to do over the last decade or two is challenge and re-consider many of my very comfortable, familiar and long-held beliefs. About many things. To question things I had never really questioned. To look at old things in new ways. And to discover my own unique beliefs, truth and understanding away from the pressure, expectation and non-negiotability of others.
When you grow up in the middle of a certain mindset, culture, religion and philosophy (and it’s the only version of reality you’ve ever known), then consciously or not, intentionally or not, you’ve been programmed. For better or worse. In such situations, the mere thought of considering another paradigm can be both, terrifying and guilt-inducing. Interestingly, it’s often our need to fit in, comply and belong that stunts our growth, our opportunities and our potential. On many levels. Their world-view becomes our world-view. We become them.
And another clone is born.