When you have a blog like this one—or are a coach, mentor, parent, boss, teacher, or even if you’re…well…anyone—it’s easy to become impressed with yourself and all the cool stuff you know.
Not only have you taken classes, attended lectures, read hundreds of books and thousands of articles, passed the exams, gotten the credentials, and have an entire case full of trophies (or at least a box full of em’ in the garage or somewhere at your mom’s house)…
…but you’ve also trudged a hard road. You’ve scrapped with the best of ‘em, conquered demons, flattened opponents, walked through the fire, and have even stared death square in the eye more than a few times and lived to tell about it. You have the scars to prove it.
And let’s face it, you’ve done some downright amazing shit in your life and have achieved things others told you were flat-out impossible.
I like to think I have, too.
In fact, I like to think I have the street smarts of an old-school hustler and have attained the eternal wisdom of a grizzled sage.
I like to think I’ve decoded some of life’s great mysteries, have deciphered the cryptic messages of the gods, and know a thing or two about a thing or two.
But the truth is, when I catch a glimpse behind the curtain of that beer-bellied ego of mine—when Toto exposes the Wizard for who he is and the scared little curmudgeon gets called out on his shenanigans—I realize that I don’t know shit.
In fact, my greatest moments are when I’m the most certain of this simple truth.
When I know that I don’t know.
(Although in conversation I’ll still probably try to tell you about all the awesome stuff I know, because that way I can appear a little smarter and cooler than I actually am and hopefully weasel my way up a notch or two on the social ladder.)
So I constantly need to keep myself in check.
It’s OK if I’m passing on my own personal experience and what I’ve learned from it. But when the ego jumps in—and that dirty old SOB does like to jump in—I need to remind myself that there’s no such thing as a happy know-it-all.
The hubristic smarty-pants stuff is best left to the teenagers of the world, the self-righteous church-goers who constantly preach that their way is the only way, and to Uncle Kurt—who lives on unemployment and Budweiser while he works at solving the world’s problems from his couch by yelling at the people on the television screen, because, as Uncle Kurt would say, “They don’t know shit.”
(Now I actually don’t have an Uncle Kurt, nor do I have anything against people who go to church, but I think you get my point.)
“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.”
There’s a Zen concept called Shoshin, which means “beginner’s mind.”
It’s about being open, eager, and free from the prison of preconceptions, even in areas of life that you’re advanced in. It’s an attitude of constantly having the mind of a beginner in everything you do.
I know in my own life that when I stay open I learn the most, get along with others the best, and am the happiest.
Now, I honestly have no idea what’s best for you, but this seems to work for me. I wish I could say that I’m like this all the time, but that would be a lie.
Big Chris (=
“We don’t know shit. Yeah we know a lot and are brilliant in comparison to cavemen, but in comparison to understanding just the very nature of the universe, with sub-atomic particles (all rules go out the window when you go subatomic)…to say we know a lot, yeah we know a lot FOR PEOPLE, but there’s some shit we don’t understand at all…they don’t even know why the universe stays together, they don’t know why it doesn’t just fly apart!”