A Surprising Spark for Personal Transformation

I meet too many people who are filled with their own importance. I feel sad for them. They have set their own ceilings. To reach higher, they need only take one simple step.

I am currently reading the book Sapiens, written by historian Yuval Noah Harari. You may have read my review of his subsequent best-seller Homo Deus. I’m a big fan of his clear thinking and colorful writing!!

Harari’s work focuses on major historic inflection points and their influence on the evolution of our species. So, for example, he identifies the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific revolutions as dramatic turns on our journey from caveperson to modern human beings.

I initially found his comments on the Scientific Revolution shocking; they seemed so counterintuitive.

“The Scientific Revolution has not been a revolution of knowledge. It has above all been a revolution of ignorance. The great discovery that launched the Scientific Revolution was the discovery that humans do not know the answers to their most important questions.”

This got me thinking about personal growth. Harari’s statements are as valid for the species as they are for each of us as individuals.

We grow when, and only when, we acknowledge our ignorance.

Most people would consider ignorance to be a state of weakness—to admit ignorance would be to project frailty.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it is precisely this fear of appearing weak that prohibits our growth. Admitting ignorance is always the first step forward.

What are the rewards of acknowledging ignorance?

We are rewarded with a growth mindset.

Harari describes the species-wide benefit of embracing ignorance:

“The willingness to admit ignorance has made modern science more dynamic, supple and inquisitive than any previous tradition of knowledge.”

These benefits are equally real for the individual who welcomes her or his own ignorance as a gift. A “more dynamic, supple and inquisitive” mind is a potent asset.

Please join me in declaring (y)our ignorance, then stand back and expect profound growth!

Have fun,

Roddy

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