This article talks about how we sometimes mistakenly think we already know everything, and why admitting that we have a lot yet to learn can help us in our quest for happiness.
It is curious how we perceive our own need to learn. We know that if we only have been through a few decades of learning, we can’t really know all that much. Still, we often fall into the trap of thinking that we have already learned everything there was about ourselves, others, and how to connect with them, so we get really thrown off by new experiences that don’t fit into our mould.
In the past couple of days, two people have told me “I really thought I knew everything about relationships, but then this happened…” and relayed a story of what they considered out of the ordinary. And what surprised them the most wasn’t even the experience itself, but that they had thought they would never encounter something new like that in their life.
One of these people was 24, and the other 31 years old. What’s curious is that both seemed to think their past experience has taught them all, and were surprised by a new situation coming in and requiring more learning.
I also sometimes find myself thinking I’ve learnt it all. Usually, this comes after a rough patch of intensive “life schooling.” As the updated paradigm of the world, changed by recent circumstances, sets in, and the going gets smooth again, it’s easy to assume that you’re prepared for everything new.
You might be, or you might not. But what’s certain is that at every point we have yet to learn a lot about life, because it never stops changing. It is both exciting and frightening how you can never really be prepared for what will happen with you next, be it in relationships, in work life, in your creative development or any other important area. People around you change, the environment changes, and your personal circumstances change constantly, too – there’s not much we can do but buckle up and learn some more to adjust to the new.
So, let’s never get complacent! Let’s remind ourselves that however old we are, be it 20, or 50, or 70, a new day will always bring the need for more learning. And let’s embrace this need to learn like the need to breathe. Each time we are faced with something new, we are given an opportunity to step up our game and increase our own awareness of the world. Not to appreciate this gift would be like refusing to evolve, and without evolution we won’t survive as a specie.
On the same note, let’s not avoid unknowns. We lose so many opportunities just because we’re scared that we can’t see what will happen if we take a risk. We tell ourselves only the worst possible outcomes, and discourage ourselves from taking the leap.
We think that what we know already is the most secure choice that promises stability and contentment, though most circumstances are by their nature fragile, like life itself. But maybe we will find the stability that we admittedly need in knowing that we can adjust to whatever comes our way? Just like in this saying (author unknown):
“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch, but on her own wings.”
In other words, count on your ability to learn, no matter what!
Enjoy your journey!
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