I sat opposite a potential client named Lucy* over coffee at a local cafe, who insisted upon enlisting my help with a crisis. I listened attentively as she shared their story; I kindly inquired about the various steps or solutions she had put in place to resolve the crisis. Lucy confessed to feeling overwhelmed and unsure where to begin. It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed and struggle to resolve an issue when you feel like the world around you has come crashing down. I am a firm believer in facilitating, thought provoking questions and conversation to enable individuals to realise their options and possible solutions, as opposed to issuing advice. As, the conversation progressed, I soon realised that Lucy may have needed a little help. I gave her a few small examples of how I resolved a similar situation in my own life. I was met with the phrases, ‘You’re wrong’ and ‘I know that already.’ As the hour came to a close Lucy left feeling overwhelmed, with no strategies to place into action and her crisis still looming over her head. I’ve got no issue with being wrong, in fact, I see being wrong as an opportunity to learn something new. In fact, approaching life with an ‘I know that already’ attitude, can stop you from reaching your potential. The phrases seems harmless, but is it really? Why do we so easily fall into this trap?
An Opportunity to Grow
Are you or ‘a friend’ suffering from I know it all syndrome? Sure, maybe you have heard it all before and perhaps, you are thinking it completely harmless to dismiss something, just because you know it already. What does it mean to know something? Does merely hearing information attribute to knowing it. If you have not put information into practice, then it’s just a fact you have acquired along the way. Every time you hear advice and think I know that already, you are dismissing an opportunity to learn and to better yourself. By putting advice into practice, regardless of whether it eventually results in your desired outcome, is a learning experience. Those moments of success or even failure that can often result from taking action become a platform or a foundation to enable you to reach your goals. This one action can teach us so much, we develop skills and learn something invaluable. The only way to truly know something is to live it. Every time you dismiss a piece of advice, you are saying no to an opportunity to grow and better yourself.
How do We Fall into this Trap
Why do we say no, to opportunities to better ourselves and how do we fall into the trap of ‘I know that already’? I must confess, I am no saint and I occasionally find myself falling into this trap. I find myself in this trap for one reason, convenience. We all live in a consumerist society, we expect everything, right now or two minutes ago. So, like Lucy with her personal crisis, we find solutions, only to realise they lead us along one road, Hard Work Highway. There’s nothing wrong with receiving advice or finding solutions to problems and having your first thought be ‘this is too hard.’ There is no quick fix option or easy street, it doesn’t exist. It’s important to remember that we alone are one 100% responsible for our own happiness and where we are today. Will you decide to let those thoughts of convenience, which are the result of our conditioning, rob you of an opportunity and a little hard work? Will you take the time required to put in a little hard work to achieve a goal or resolution?
What Can I Learn from this?
How do you change your perspective and start seeing an opportunity? The easiest way to change your perspective in any situation is to ask yourself, What can I learn from this? In fact, the most successful people always find something new to learn or a new level of mastery to achieve, this is often their biggest motivator. There is always a new angle, you have not considered. If, your questioning and brainstorming become fruitless, research how other people reached your goal or resolved a similar crisis. Fortunately, there is always someone out there who has achieved the goals or resolved a similar personal crisis. People love to talk about how they achieve their goals.
There are two types of people in this world, those people who are constantly growing, always striving and seeking out opportunities to better themselves; and those who chose comfort or play it safe, make excuses and miss out on opportunities. They never make it past square one and are always looking for a solution to the same problem. Choose to see advice or information shared to you as an opportunity to learn, avoid the convenience trap and seek a new angle or perspective.
*name change for privacy
Photo Credit: Mimi and Eunice