"The best students are those that never quite believe their professors."
~ Jim Collins
When I was at school I looked up to my teachers with absolute reverence and thought ‘how do they know all this stuff’? They must have been studying for a hundred years! It was a childish thought at the time, but about right for my maturing brain.
However, as you move through life and start to accumulate knowledge and experience you begin to understand how that was possible, or at least I did. At the same time and having an inquisitive mind I started to pose questions like ‘how do the teachers know what they are teaching is true’?
I assumed it was a combination of proven and reliable sources and was based on believable facts. I further concluded that was probably very true in relation to the pure sciences like mathematics, physics, and biology. However, perhaps less so in the social sciences likes history where a greater deal of subjectivity or interpretive conclusions could be drawn.
For example, how can anyone really know what Seneca the Roman Philosopher meant in 30AD when he said, ‘the one who puts the finishing touches on life each day is never short of time’? Unless it was explicitly explained in a diary of some sort, it’s going to be open to interpretation.
Coming Across People with Fixed Views
On our journey, we come across so many people that hold fixed views about information and life in general. That causes my mind to pose the question ‘from what well are you drawing your wisdom’? Is what you are saying and thinking coming from a place of knowledge, opinion or somewhere in between?
When I meet someone who has a view that I disagree with I won’t say ‘that’s BS, I don’t believe that at all’. What I will say is something like ‘that’s an interesting perspective I have not considered, share your thoughts with me so I can better understand’.
In summary, the point of this article is to ensure you are drawing your wisdom and knowledge from the right well of knowledge because some could be tainted and unfit to drink from. Be wary of people who have strong and fixed opinions on life who will not even entertain the possibility of an alternative point of view.
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