We Don’t Need to Know Everything

When we are young, when everything seems new and we’re open and curious to learn, we listen to those who know or can teach us skills to “find out” for ourselves.
How to ride a bike.
How to hold our pencil.
To skate.
And we listen with trust and childlike appreciation to those who will show us how and then to those who will show us how to do better.
But then, somewhere along the way, this trust and appreciation turn to frustration and impatience. As teenagers, we say, “who are you to tell me what to do?”
“Leave me alone.”
“This sucks.”
Eventually, we realize that we indeed do not know everything, at least not the things we need to know to succeed at a new job, make money, buy a house. All the “things” that come along in life that are new. So we listen and learn from the experts who will teach guide and us.
But then we stall. Again we think we know it all. We don’t want to learn because it will require effort,
or change
or, heaven forbid,
more responsibly.
We’re scared to fail. Or too proud to acknowledge a need for growth. So we muddle around in a rut expecting accolades for redundancy. Or again, to be left alone in a cocoon of unaccountability.
And we may resent those who try to teach us, and this time we think instead of say:
“Leave me alone”
or “who are you to tell me what to do.”
or “Let me do what I’ve always done…
even if it’s mediocre.
Because complacency is familiar. And doesn’t require effort.
And I think the only way to regain that childlike trust to learn from someone else is through humility. And the acknowledgment that someone else might, in fact, know something I don’t know. And if that person has my respect, then mentors can exist even for adults.
And I can learn above suspicion
with the same innocence as a child.

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