Learning By Listening

Mime with eyes closed inside imagined box

Let me tell you about the box I live in!

I saw a quote today that helped define for me a phenomenon I have seen all my life but did not recognize.  I would ask a rather sheltered friend of mine what he believed about this or that and he often replied that he was raised to believe one thing or another.  I was always shocked that he had not questioned what he was taught.  He was not a fan of reading or research and he was not really that interested in the other points of view.  He had a set of answers that worked in the life he led and that was good enough for him.

Later on in my life I began to run into people that had put a great deal of time into research of various kinds.  When I would express my opinion on an area they felt they knew a lot about some people would talk over me and drowned me out in order to give me their expert opinion on the topic.  Sometimes they were so busy giving their opinion that they actually failed to correctly identify the topic of my original conversation.  I would be frustrated but also gave their argument greater weight because they should know.

Today I realized that both the expert and the sheltered friend had the same problem.  Their minds were closed.  Why?  I think they were afraid of change.  Aren’t I a piece of work passing judgement on people!  Ego!!

Now I am not going to try to fool you into believing that I have not been both of these people many times.  Generally I listen and although I may reject an idea at first I think about what was said and I research and I refine what I think and what works for me.  It is not easy to accept changing concepts right away and we all have the right to hold our own truths different from everybody elses.

So I have decided to be a little more forgiving when a person pushes their ideas on me.  I have decided to be a little bit more honest about why I am rejecting an idea.

What was the quote I heard?

 “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the experts mind there are few.” ~ Shunryu Suzuki


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