Diary of an ex-arrogant: How to know that you don’t know

We love watching people and criticizing. It is fun and it is easy, and it comes with no effort. It was the sport I was taught to play as a professional growing up. We criticize presidents, politicians, neighbors, friends, you name it. But just lately, after roasting someone based on little info or none at all, I have happened to take a closer look, and found out that my judgment was harsh and unfair at best. That is how the itch to look closer began. That is how we realize we didn’t know anything.

Once you realize that you don’t know, you will enter one of the oldest, yet most exclusive clubs that have ever existed: the club of wisdom. Just think of Plato:

I just know I don’t know anything.

Congratulations on joining the club, but if you are at this stage, you must have also realized or you are about to, that this is merely the beginning of an awesome journey towards not being like everybody else. Although, there is no hacking for self-discovery, there is wisdom scattered all around us that can help us take larger steps towards becoming people who stop buying aspiration and begin creating a life of little, yet constant achievements that should eventually add up to something much greater than ourselves.

Let me share some pieces of wisdom I have picked up in the last 14 months give or take, and I hope, from the best of me, that they shake you up as hard as they have shaken me.

  1. Look Closer. I have this little obsession of taking pictures of insects, flowers, stones, even people from the closest and most unusual possible angle I can find. This has led me to discover amazing shapes, colors, all in all, beauty that is just lying there, but we miss just because we are not looking close enough. I think this can translate to the way we deal with humans around us. We are fast at judging people, in fact, it takes the human brain 7 seconds to create a set of data about other humans upon encountering them, yet, we don’t even care, we just keep walking or keep on with our day without even knowing that we missed an opportunity.
  2. How look closer at humans. Read How to make friends and influence people, it changed my life. Why? Because it is a book that simplified the unusual art of treating people like human beings, instead of sources of squeezable funds, or just tools to achieve our own set of goals.
  3. Shut up. I have written about this, I love this topic. Everything today is designed for us to speak more and more, to be heard more and more. Ads want us to hear and see them, as well as all humans that surround us. Yes, we are a bunch of sacks of blood and organs just waiting for our turn to share our “marvelous” stories. As soon as I started shutting up, a stampede of awesomeness ran me over. The people I used to label as stupid or idiotic, began showing me that most of us have much more below the surface than we are ready to see. Strangely enough, this process of shutting up and observing people as they share their stories, I developed this super power to screen the people I want to spend time with, and weed out those with whom I don’t, without being rude. Yes, we don’t know almost anything, but knowing a little bit is fascinating.

So, focus on not knowing more and more, and share your not knowing, I really want to hear about your path. Just a cool quote before leaving.

I leave you one of my favorite shots of nature up close.

Self-improvement can be achieved, but not with a quick fix. It’s a long, arduous journey of personal and spiritual discovery.
 — Lisa Simpson
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