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Being curious and willing to learn is most useful

March 6, 2017

The simple statement “I know!” coupled with arrogance is probably the least important and least useful attitude to have at any time. That is because, this “I know it already” attitude blocks other perspectives from coming in. And listening to another perspective, if nothing else, could lead to a better understanding of what one already knows. A better understanding means that one now knows a little more than what one thought they knew. So, in that sense, what one thought one knew before was not complete. So, even when one is completely convinced that what they know is all there is to know, the truth most probably is that they do not know everything there is about that subject. Simply put, I might know more about something than others, and that does not mean that I know everything there is to know. So, when I say, “I know,” is that really true? And more importantly, is that useful?

 

“I already know” acts like a door that prevents anything new from coming in. It does not allow new thinking, views and thoughts to enter. And the Dalai Lama, says it beautifully, “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” Regardless of anything that one believes their knowledge to be, it is important to stay curious and willing to learn. A little more on that, and how having this attitude might be very useful, in this article. And both the “for and against” are being listed out.

When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” – The Dalai Lama

In the iconic Thamizh movie, and one of my personal favourites, “Thillu Mullu” (starring the one and only Rajinikanth, and directed by his mentor K.Balachander) there is a scene of an interview. Incidentally, this movie is the remake of the very popular Hindi movie, Gol Maal, starring Amol Palekar and Utpal Dutt. In this particular scene, Rajinikanth (as A A K Chandran – or Ayyampettai Arivudainambi Kaliaperumal Chandran) is being interviewed for a job by “Thengai” (Coconut) Srinivasan, who plays “Sriramachandramurthy,” a very strict business owner, with some fixed views on many subjects. Let this not become a review of the movie. (Another aside is that this is probably a movie I have watched the most number of times; I won’t mention the number though!)

 

In this particular scene, Chandran tells Sriramachandramurthy, the interviewer, “Sir, my father has told me this – In this world there is none who is superior to you; so you do not need to feel that you are less than anyone else. Similarly, there is none in the world who is inferior to you – so never ever think less of anyone else. This is what my father has taught me, and this to me is the gospel.