Surely, there was a time in life where I was afraid of asking a stupid question, of admitting I hadn’t seen the movie, of not being in on the joke. And perhaps when you are in this stage, it’s impossible to imagine feeling any other way. How does one so effortlessly admit that they don’t know?
At some point that is now unidentifiable to me, I became that person. The other day, I was reading on the sofa while my partner and our friend watched a television show around me. With my phone charging across the room, I turned to my partner and asked to borrow his phone to look up a word. There is perhaps nothing I love more than discovering a word I don’t know.
I saw something online the other day and unfortunately, the only part of the quote I wrote down was: “the dumbest smart person I know.” But that made me think about how everyone is smart in some things and dumb in other things. And then that made me think that the only truly dumb ones are the ones who aren’t willing to learn.
And then I thought about the power of being the dumbest person in the room. What joy it is to be surrounded by people who can teach you. Ah but what necessity it is to be willing to learn.
So what if I am smart in geography and grammar and gingerbread cake recipes? There are almost certainly hundreds, thousands, millions of people who are smarter than me in those subjects. And wouldn’t it be fun to meet them?
I think my life got better when I stopped pretending I’d seen the movie, knew the musical artist, or understood the joke. I think life got simpler when I wasn’t afraid to ask someone what a word meant or ask them to repeat something I didn’t quite catch. I think life got more exciting when I recognized that all the things I didn’t know were opportunities for growth and discovery.
I think life can be really good if you’re willing to admit you don’t know it all.
I think life can be even better if we’re willing to take the steps to discover, listen, and learn.