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The 7L's: Learn More

‘The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.’


I am excited about this next post regarding The 7 L’s for Living a Wonderful Life as the next 'L' in my sequence after “Listen More” is: L3-Learn more. I think perhaps, this just might be the most empowering action that any of us can do in our lives to make it as meaningful and wonderful as possible.

At the heart of “Learn More” is:

Most of us know actually very little.

Despite receiving an engineering degree from West Point, my understanding of engineering in any discipline; be it civil, mechanical, electrical or automotive, is extremely poor. I have an iPhone and I don’t have a clue how this incredible technology tool works to provide me with so much information. My children and grandchildren are constantly teaching me new things about the world. For that matter, I have come to appreciate just how little I know about so very much.

It can be humbling at times. I can recall going to a client coaching engagement and I had parked my rental vehicle in a hospital parking garage. When I came out at the end of the day to leave, I found a note on my windshield: “Learn to park asshole!”. And as I looked at the note and then my parking, I realized that, while the note writer could have been kinder, their assessment was quite accurate. My back wheels were almost in the parking spot next to mine! Once again humbled, I was encouraged to take a beginner’s mind to most things and to be open and curious about what I need to learn and where I need to grow and expand my understanding of things. I keep this note about my poor parking with me as a gift to remind me of my imperfections and to be open to learning as much as I possibly can.

There is something called the Dunning-Kruger Effect that was created by two social psychologists, David Dunning and Justin Kruger, to describe a common cognitive bias in which people assess their thinking abilities and knowledge as greater than it is. Essentially, far too many people think they are much smarter than they really are. And because they are blind to this common bias, they are prone to making bad decisions because they do not see the need to ask the opinions, perspectives and expertise of others.

When people are in positions of power and great influence,

their blindness to this bias can be extremely dangerous and they can make it very unsafe for others to question their decisions or to challenge them.

For me, “Learn more” is an opportunity to take on a beginner’s mind; to stay open and curious about the world around me; and to seek the counsel and wisdom from others. The other enormous gift I have received from this opportunity is in having greater freedom from the need to be right. When you can do that, it gets much easier for others to be right as well and find Win-Win situations. How wonderful is that?!

What opportunities do you have today to take a beginner’s mind? To open up your assumptions and judgments about others? To see an issue or problem from another vantage point? To admit to others that you don’t really know?


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