Have you ever tried something new and totally messed it up? I’m not talking about a big swing and a miss, but little things. Like taking a new route home and eventually getting lost and going 20 minutes out of your way? Or mailing a package for the first time and realizing you have no idea how to wrap it up properly?
Do these little things ever drive you crazy? Do you find yourself saying “ugh, I’m a grown person, I should be able to do this already”?
We encounter small little annoyances every day. There's a certain learning curve to life, and you’re not going to automatically have the perfect answer to everything. So instead of being annoyed when your “shortcut” turned into an extra 20 minutes or when you need to ask for help with a simple task, I’ve taken on a new mentality. I turn those small annoyances into little lessons and simply say, “well, now I know.”
You learn a lot in life. No matter how much we try or wish it to be true, none of us knows everything. *hold for collective audience gasp* I know, I was shocked when I found out too.
As humans, I’d say we like to pretend we know absolutely everything. We gain confidence when we correct people, and if we ace a test we feel accomplished. Not knowing something becomes a really scary option. Even when you aren’t positive about how to do something we end up championing the phrase “fake it till you make it” to encourage ourselves.
But here’s the thing, there is literally SO MUCH that I don’t know. Some examples… I have no idea...
How to do my taxes in Florida
What is the quickest route to my local library
How long to cook a chicken
How to cut my own hair
What to look for when shopping for car insurance
Who to call to help me find a good doctor in my area that works with my insurance
What medicine will help my stuffy nose go away quicker
How to change my email address on my iCloud account
And the list goes on.
We all have so many things that we casually learn about every day, but we close ourselves off to those opportunities for growth. We want to appear like we are confident and collected whenever an issue arises, so we don’t ask questions and we never learn.
And this gets dangerous. We lie about understanding, then end up screwing up a whole project. Or we claim to be on top of all the information, but miss a crucial piece of small print. Or, my personal favorite, we don’t ask the Walgreens employee where to find Band Aids because we can totally do it on our own, but then we wander around the store for 20 minutes when it could have taken less than 5 minutes. Just me? Okay.
We have this weird complex where we need to be independent and accomplish everything perfectly on our own. We refuse to bother other people to help us when we feel like we should be self sufficient.
But listen, babies come into the world literally crying to understand. They don’t know how to change themselves or eat on their own or even sit up properly. And they don’t apologize for that either. You don’t see a baby stop crying because they don’t want to inconvenience anyone or because they’re ashamed of not understanding. They just cry because they are desperate to learn and to take in the world.
Shouldn’t we all embrace a bit more of this baby mentality? And no I don’t mean waking your parents at 3 am with your wailing or continuing to only eat mashed carrots and peas. I mean, why can’t we embrace the constant curiosity and eagerness for knowledge?
Even if it’s small. When I took the wrong exit of the highway, I may have initially been frustrated, but now I’m sure that exit doesn’t take me home. “Well, now I know.” The last time at the supermarket, when I asked if they carry a specific brand of wine and they did not, I wasn’t embarrassed for asking or upset that they didn’t, I just realized I’d have to shop somewhere else for that. “Well, now I know.” When I was on the phone with my insurance agent and she asked if I had anymore questions, I admitted that I was still a little confused. She walked me through everything with kindness and patience, and now I can say that I understand it. “Well, now I know.”
Admitting you don’t know everything and realizing that you’re going to make dumb, little mistakes every once in a while is the first step in opening your life up to new discoveries and adventures. Letting these little annoyances get under your skin also splinters your relationship with curiosity. Rather than looking at every unplanned incident as a hindrance, think of them as a release from the pressure to be perfect.
Give yourself more opportunities for discovery. Start inviting moments of complete cluelessness. Ask the expert for help rather than pretending you are one. If we all could start asking a few more questions and embracing a few more mistakes, I think we’ll be amazed at how often we get to say “huh, well, now I know.”