The greatest lesson I’ve learned, I learned when I was 7 years old.
Up until my revelation, I was the most bull-headed, obstinate kid you would ever want to meet (so, I was basically your average kid.) I believed that I knew best in all situations, and disregarded any advice offered to me by my elders.
Then, one day, I was wrong. It wasn’t the first time I had been wrong, but this time something was different. When my immediate feelings of anger had subsided and my ego had healed, I thought something I had never thought:
“Maybe, if I had listened to some advice from people who’ve been on this planet longer… I could avoid feeling this way.”
It is so basic. It’s such a simple thought, and one that many of us will think nothing of. In reality, it’s something that very few of us have mastered.
Think about it, there are 7 billion people on this planet. There have been billions and billions of notes, books, and blog posts, written throughout history. Almost everything you could want to learn– you can now learn, easier than ever.
But we continue to struggle with incredibly basic problems.
Is it that there’s not enough access to the internet? Or, perhaps, it’s the ease with which information can now be accessed, that makes us lazy? Are we just crazy (i.e. doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results)?
No, this isn’t just a problem of modern times, or environment– it’s a problem with us.
The reason that many of us have a hard time taking advice is that, to do so, we have to admit that we don’t know everything– that, because of this we are not perfect.
Humans have an innate desire for perfection. Besides our “photoshopification” of the world and us, our cultural obsession with plastic surgery, or even the spell-check that automatically corrects your misspelled texts, and the fact that the only place straight lines exist is in what humans create– just proves that obsession.
And there’s nothing wrong with that desire, there’s nothing wrong with pushing towards perfection. Problem is, in order to begin progressing towards this (unattainable) goal, we must first admit that we are imperfect.
We cannot even begin the journey towards self improvement or greater knowledge, if we don’t accept that we have something to learn.
I am struck by the reality that, this breakthrough moment, I experienced when I was 7, is something that even adults struggle with. To be fair, I still find myself falling into this habit now and then, but I remind myself:
“Maybe, if I had listened to some advice from people who’ve been on this planet longer… I could avoid feeling this way.“
How many times in the last week alone, have you disregarded someone’s advice, or criticism, because it really just made you feel bad?
How much frustration and disappointment could you avoid if you knew the most valuable information of the 5 people you most look up to?
There is no outside barrier to information, anymore. It is easier than ever to gain valuable advice and knowledge from the most accomplished people on the planet.
Our minds, our own ego, is our greatest barrier to attaining the information that will help us create the lives we desire.
The next time someone criticizes, critiques, or advises you, ask yourself this question:
“Am I angry because they’re wrong, or because it makes me feel bad?”