Photo Credit: cx ed,

It is easy to feel smug when we know more of a subject than other people. We feel that we have it all figured out and our insights must be respected like the word of a deity. We’re an expert in your own eyes and we want others to see us like that as well.

People who think they know it all and that they have all the answers are pretty dogmatic. You can practically find them anywhere: in academia, government or even in religious institutions (remember the leader who never bothered to listen to other denominations but insisting that he must be listened to? He never bothered to listen so no one would lend their ears to him). These people falsely believe that no amount of reasoning can destroy their principles and arguments. Constricted mind. Hardened hearts.

They have the expert's mind in the negative sense - close minded.

But getting no input, no new insights, or no new stimulation from the outside is suicide. No one can be truly great without having the student mindset and ears that are willing to listen. Have you ever seen a young plant refusing to absorb sunlight and nutrients because it thinks that its growth is already finished? Never. But many people are like that, blinded by their own false superiority.

At what stage of life does humans learn most? Not at adulthood, but on childhood. Why? Because children have no pretentious assumptions that they are experts! They readily admit that they are children (who can deny it?), and need to learn in order to survive and thrive. They relish on their learning, and always have the beginner's mindset and humility to attend to the process of growth.

The great tragedy for most people is they think they are mature enough when they finished schooling. They don’t read books anymore, they don’t read their religious text anymore, and they don’t listen to advice anymore. Why learn if you know it all? They asked. When you have an unteachable mind and an unreachable heart, awful regrets seeds in - big time.

The unprecedented pace of information in today’s world with of the rise of the internet and internet-connected devices makes the necessity of learning even more important. This is the worst time to be close minded. The "experts" would be drowned in the torrents, but the students would learn to thrive.

Learn. Open your mind. It doesn't mean accepting all inputs as truths, your mind is a processing machine not a mere basket. Be exposed to multiple philosophies, broaden your perspectives, and read about different religions so you’ll be stronger in your conviction and truly have the ears that listens. The greatest leaders, teachers, engineers, designers are not the braggarts who sings i-know-it-all tunes, no, the greatest are the learners. Why? Because unlike experts, learners are not stuck in their superiority, they thrive with their humility. Perish with the expert's mind or flourish with the beginner's mind. It's a choice. I hope we all choose wisely, with an opened mind and a teachable heart.

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