Ignorance, Mistakes and Lessons Learned

Soooo for a long time I’ve been thinking about starting a particular series on my blog in which I address all the stupid and ignorant things I’ve done in my life. And in this post I want to explain why.

I think we can all agree that at times when we look around this world, it’s easy to find brainless, dumb, ignorant remarks and actions. These can be sexist or racist, but also just an indication of how little people know of certain world topics or the refusal to listen to other perspectives.

I mean, I just have to open my Facebook feed for one second and I’ll read about “leftist conspiracies”, or how someone is “mentally retarded” if they agree with a certain political movement, or find fun holiday pictures with drugged up tigers or disheveled black children in the country of Africa.

Reading news stories, meeting my family at Christmas, or just listening to conversations people have in the bus, it seems you can’t escape slamming your hands to your face every single day.

How can people be so stupid and intolerant right?!?!?!?!  I’m sure many of you probably know what I’m talking about.

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But here’s the thing. Please explain to me how it is possible that almost everyone in the world can agree with me that almost everyone in the world is so stupid and bigoted. I might not be great at math but even I can understand this doesn’t add up.

To be honest, it kinda smells like hypocrisy.

We are not any better than the people we complain about. We’ve all been ignorant, done stupid things and made wrong decisions in our past. And let’s not lie to ourselves, we will continue having to correct ourselves until the day we die.

Humans aren’t perfect and life isn’t black and white.

So here’s where this series comes in. It might not put myself in great lighting. However, I told you guys I wanted to be sincere and honest and this series follows that guideline to the letter.

I’m going to write about all the small and big, mindless and shortsighted, wrong decisions I made, remarks I blurted out, actions I took.

Because I want to show that most people, no all people, do stupid things all the time. But that doesn’t mean humanity is a lost cause. We definitely can and hopefully do often learn from our wrongdoings. After years, months, or sometimes already the next hour we realize we did something wrong. And that stupid thing is then able to be turned into a human mistake from which lessons are learned.

Mistakes can be reconciled.

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There are two important factors to the personal growth I am describing. Of course we should start with ourselves first. We need to realize that we don’t have all the right answers yet and that it is okay to change our mind, to be open to learning new ideas and perspectives. You might be confident that all your beliefs are rock solid, but that’s complete bullshit. It can be a painful and sometimes confusing self-confession, but that doesn’t take away its truth.

The other determining factor in growth are the people who can educate us and the way in which they do that. Intrinsically we all know it – judging or attacking people on their thoughts and actions rarely proves to enact positive change. In fact, it rather persuades people to insulate and defend themselves more. Approaching with understanding and an offer to start a conversation about the topic, that might create much better results. At least it does with me.

Definitely do NOT lecture people as if you know the absolute truth and everyone else is stupid. That’s degrading and hypocritical (see my previous point).

It’s not always gonna work, I understand that. Especially with people who are already closed off. But really, when did you ever succeed in convincing someone of an importance by attacking them? Or is that not what you are trying to achieve?

Mistakes are a part of who we are and much better teachers than success. So don’t hold the past against people and refrain from quick judgment. Instead, aim to increase people’s understanding.

Who knows, those people might advocate against the thing they once strongly believed in because of the effort you took to start a conversation.

 

In the next chapter of this series I will tell you about the time I rode an elephant in Thailand. Something I now highly discourage anyone from doing.


Picture credits in order of appearance: Pineapple Supply Co., Nick Fewings, Chuttersnap on Unsplash

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