There is no doubt that for millennia, parents (like myself) have struggled with teenagers who think they know it all. What is also historically evident is that these teenagers grow up and come to the realization that Mum and Dad were right all along.
The sad truth is that most teens are lovable yet immature, self-proclaimed geniuses who are completely unaware of how little they actually know. What is most unfortunate is that this attitude is not just confined to human teenagers. Indeed, it aptly reflects the mindset of humanity itself.
There is no doubt that, since our ancestors took their first tentative steps, humans have become more knowledgeable. But the problem has never been our intelligence, nor our curiosity. The problem with humanity is that, like a petulant teenager, it constantly clings to the absurd idea that with each new discovery we are nearing the end of our education; that we now almost know it all.
When actually, we know nothing.
You see, while it is true that we know more now than we have ever known before, the fact, according to the latest scientific measurements, is that human science can explain a mere 4.6% of the Universe.
That’s four point six percent. Of the entire Universe. What it’s made up of; its composition; its mechanics. How it works, and how we work within it. So for all of our blustering and arrogance – for all our science and genius, centuries of research – we have barely scratched the surface of who we are, where we live and what we are capable of.
Over the centuries, spiritual teachers and thought leaders have provided tantalizing glimpses beyond our physical world but, almost every time, they have been ostracized or persecuted. In recent decades, brave scientists have been researching new areas of understanding; quantum physics, psi ability and consciousness and, almost predictably, most have been ridiculed or ignored.
Are we really that insecure, that immature, that we are going to continue to pretend we have all the answers? Are we really going to throw some collective adolescent tantrum every time someone presents us with a new way of looking at things? Or, are we finally going to grow up, wise up and accept ourselves for what we are: curious and intelligent creatures that have an awful lot to learn?
If we really want to become wise and knowledgeable, then we really have to step out of our belligerent teenage phase and accept that we don’t know it all. Perhaps, only then can we start living life with the joyful curiosity that is our birthright.
Below are six ways you can embrace ignorance and step into a more open-minded view of life:
1) Change your perception of success: Most people equate personal power with being knowledgeable and having all the right answers. Change your measure of success to how tolerant, curious and open-minded you can be.
2) Surrender your right to the word “impossible”: We have no idea what is possible, and it’s safe to accept that.
3) Remember your place in history: In 300 years time our customs, beliefs, and knowledge will most likely be thought of as quaint and old-fashioned.
4) Choose happiness over righteousness: As personal development speaker, Gary Douglas suggests, “If you are in conflict with someone, you can choose to be right, or you can choose to be happy.” Resist the need to convert others to what you think is right.
5) Stay curious: Challenge yourself each day to change your point of view. Find new facts, gain new insights and ask new questions.
6) Embrace the use of “I don’t know”: Be comfortable with not having all the answers, and be mindful of allowing others the same liberty.