“It is impossible for a man to begin to learn that which he thinks that he knows.” – The Discourses (Book II) by Epictetus, Chapter XVII
There’s no surer way to set yourself up for failure than to begin any task with the mindset that you have all the answers.
Yes, it’s hard to hold your tongue when you see something being done inefficiently, and it’s even more difficult to keep the peace when you hear someone speak something untrue.
No matter the challenge, be steadfast, and hold your opinion. Ask questions and try to understand how the people around you have come to their positions.
When you remain silent, those around will continue to speak. The more they share, the better you will understand them and the task at hand.
You can’t learn a skill by talking to your teacher. Remember your primary school days. The student is silent. He observes how the teacher handles the situation in front of her. He listens to the words spoken and asks questions when clarity is needed.
Why is it then, in our adult lives, that we stop listening? How do we expect to learn unless we’re willing to be quiet and ask questions? Did you ever tell your history professor he was wrong when he lectured on the civilizations of the past?
Likely not, you trusted he knew something you didn’t. You listened in order to learn. You asked questions in order to understand.
There’s a great motto a mentor shared with me, and her message has helped me a great deal in my life.
“Trust, but verify.”
Even though we should seek to understand the people and their unique opinions when we encounter them, it doesn’t mean we don’t verify the information they share.
Treat knowledge like a loaded gun. Just because the person to your left said he removed the bullets, doesn’t mean I’m not going to check. If we don’t verify information in life, at some point disaster will strike, and that’s pain that could have been avoided.