Humility: Open for Advice Stuffing the ego in interest of growth BY: Troy Murphy
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Receiving advice creates a predicament, requiring courage and humility. Advice, especially when unsolicited, suggests lack. Openness requires letting go of our ego's grasp on "infinite knowledge."
We achieve a degree of comfort in the false belief of "infinite knowledge." We see these beliefs in action during ordinary conversations. We cut off a coworker midsentence to punctuate we know before they say. We ferociously defend a failed plan.
The belief goes: “If I know everything than I can survive.” But if we accept advice, the learning implies lack and vulnerability. Our brains are magnificent. We know a lot. But with boundless knowledge to gain in the vast eternities of the universe, there will always be more that we don’t know than what we do. We have limitations because many secrets hasn’t been discovered yet, but also because the breadth of individual experience is limited.
We just don’t experience life but are impacted by life. Experience isn’t a simple flow of knowledge from the world into our minds. Life can hurt, damage and destroy. Experience leaves deep marks in our emotion centers of our brains. When experience cuts deep, it distills unneeded fear, anger and guilt that continue to live inside tainting new experiences with the emotions of the past. Advice for our experience often is untainted, from someone with less investment.
"Our brains are magnificent. We know a lot. But with boundless knowledge to gain in the vast eternities of the universe, there will always be more that we don’t know than what we do."
A wise person weighs advice from a variety of people, making judgements slowly, considering both long and short-term consequences. Wisdom doesn’t cling to inflexible dogmatic rules, nor does wisdom demand self-contained omnificence, but wisdom invites change and is open to correction. We don’t blindly follow. Some advice is an underhanded gut shot, a passive-aggressive shout to undermine our confidence and dissuade healthy growth. We must recognize those demeaning statements of helpfulness laced with arsenic.
Awareness of the inevitable ego involvement assists with sorting through discomfort of acknowledging limitations and truly listening to others to gain insights we may have missed. Bringing fear into consciousness permits a fair evaluation of advice without automatic discrediting anything previously unknown.