24 March 2009

24Mar- interesting article on feeling stupid
The Importance of Stupidity in Scientific Research

While this article is specifically about feeling stupid in an earning a PHD context, I feel like it works for life in general.

My Tai Chi teacher has spent many years learning and teaching about his art and, as his nature, he loves to know. As a result, he'll dig and research when he has a question. After fifteen something years this doesn't leave a tremendous amount to learn about Tai Chi at the level at which I'm learning it. So, every so often, someone will come up with a question about structure or movement genesis that he finds a challenge to answer or articulate and he enjoys it.

As should we all, within our fields of interest. There will always be more to learn and we should never be content with just our present knowledge.

Humility is a valuable learning device. It's around us at all times, if we are observant enough to see it. Sometimes we encounter it more brusquely. What's important is that we don't fall into that trap of lashing out. I see that a lot. Someone is made to feel foolish or ignorant or incorrect and they get angry. Angry, i suppose, at being made to feel foolish. And it's much easier to attack the person or thing that makes them confront themselves so they do in, I suppose, a variant of misery loves company.

Maybe it's because I've been working with the public for nearly fifteen years in an industry that sends a wide spectrum of people through our doors, as customers, staff, and salespeople. I've encountered humility on many levels. Maybe it's become a self-defense mechanism to learn from it rather than to explode at it. There's something so useless and exhausting about reacting violently at being made to feel humble. I mean, the potential is around every corner, every day. Of course, I still flush and clench my jaw and get that prickly feeling that travels up the back of the neck and base of the throat at the more personal or professional attacks so I'm still working on practicing what I preach.

But there's so much to learn. Wouldn't we be better people if we just learned from our mistakes and our deficiencies?
Pff. What the hell do I know?

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