I was. A know-it-all. Sometimes I still am, and I catch myself and have to reel in the veil that drops when I hear people talking about things that I feel I know far more about, on a far higher level. You know what I mean, I am sure, even if you aren’t willing to admit it. Being a know-it-all can leave you knowing far less than what you could know right now!
I have flashbacks of the day I decided to leave my very bizarre yet brilliant acting school. I was taken aside and told that I was “unteachable.” When I said that it was ironic that I managed to graduate from college with awards yet suddenly was being told that it was impossible to teach me, I was met with more derision. “You already know everything so you don’t want to listen.”
Hm. Now, I was totally bonafide in my desire to jet from that situation, and it had nothing to do with my teach-ability. That said, those words made me understand a facet of life that I was unwilling to see before: when you think you know everything you become unteachable. Sadly, when you think you know everything you stop expanding.
If you are in a conversation and you feel you know more than everyone, do you suddenly shut down or, worse, dominate with your fascinating wisdom? I’m sad to say, I used to do this more often than not… And when I stopped “checking out” in the midst of my life, I started to learn that everyone knows a ton about a lot of things, and every unique perspective is valuable. Its awesome to be an expert, but, man, I learn soooo much from my clients! And I now find myself learning from people all throughout the day. Asking questions. Approaching life without having all the answers in hand. Wanting to see a better way to do everything, an easier way, faster or more elegant. When you don’t know everything, you discover fascinating things every day.
Can you shove aside that lovely genius that stands between you and all there is to experience in the world and start living a life more wide-eyed and filled with wonder? Its often more powerful to listen than to speak!
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Such a good article. Sometimes I think I’m the opposite of what you described. It’s like I hem and haw and act like I don’t know anything. I’m not sure being confident of knowledge is a bad thing, although being cocky about it sure can be.