I am a prideful guy and I think that I am a pretty sharp pencil. I like it when people think that I am clever. Sometimes I am clever, and sometimes I wing it. I rarely say, ” I don’t know” or ” I don’t know”. I am choosing to make Thursdays my “I Am Just Trying to Understand’ day each week. Thursday will be the day that I proudly declare my ignorance. I won’t synthesize what I do know and try shape it to fit an unrelated question. I won’t bluff my way through conversations. I will just say ” help me understand” or ” tell me more, so I can understand”. I am trusting that by being transparent and inquisitive, I will learn more about the subject under discussion and the person or people I am in conversation with.
Here are different ways I can say “I do not understand”
“What did you say? What do you mean? Ca you tell me more? Can you say more about that? I don’t understand. Excuse me, I didn’t get it. Excuse me, can you please repeat it? Sorry, I did not catch that. I missed that. That went right over my head. Can you please speak slowly? I don’t get it. Do you mind explaining it again? I’m afraid it is not clear what you saying. Would you mind clarifying what you said? I am sorry, but I don’t follow what you are saying. I don’t catch what you said. Sorry. I am not trying to be smart, I just don’t get it.”
Even writing those words makes me a bit uncomfortable. There is a script, in my head, that tells me that I should know everything or at least not disclose any lack of awareness, experience or education. It doesn’t matter where my scripts came from. I just need an awareness that the foundation informs my decisions. I can’t change yesterday and the actions or inactions that are embedded in my nature but I can move forward, slowly and subtlety altering how I choose to react to familiar and unfamiliar stimulus. Today, I recognize my desire (need) to be right and to be seen as clever and I challenge myself to be open and transparent by asking awkward and clumsy questions to clarify and learn.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
– Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio
Seems Bill understood that we need to accept that we don’t understand everything/anything. Where we see certainty Hamlet saw other possibilities. I am excited to see what Thursdays bring and whether my horizons will expand beyond what I am comfortable knowing.
Make Today Remarkable, by allowing some confusion,