“I know it”; this is a very generously used phrase. We claim to know almost anything and everything ranging from results of a sports tournament, fall of a government, decision made by someone after lot of thinking. Though mostly this phrase lacks sincerity and seriousness; it tells something significant about our chances of learning and growth. The more you claim it; more you are in grip of the “knower mindset”.
This mindset plays a significant role in the way we learn and grow. It tells how we approach towards solving a problem, how we react to an opportunity to learn something new, how good we are to build connections in our personal and professional life. In the era of internet, knowledge on any topic is virtually available to us in our hands. We can learn about anything with least effort and minimum time. There is no struggle for sources of learning. There are ample easy methods and rich resources available to learn and grow. However, this ease has negative impact on the learner psychology.
Though we have a lot available to learn, the depth to which we dive into it has reduced. We remain on the surface and claim to know the matter. Lack of patience and disarrayed focus makes us to learn only an iota about the total available on the details. We want to move to the newer things faster. Though we learn a little bit on the topic, in our mind we tag ourselves as knowers of the matter. Once there is a knower tag attached our mind closes the window of further learning.
Other than the learning, the knower mindset also closes the opportunities to grow as a person and as a leader. We tend to become judgmental and rigid. We become like the jar full of marbles that has no space left to add more marbles of different colors.
As a leader; in the form of parent, teacher or a mentor; this mindset hinders our relationship with the kids, students and mentees. There is no scope of discussion and sharing; we lose the opportunity to listen and learn.
While approaching a problem if we have knower block in our head, there is little scope of seeing all aspects of a problem. This prevents us from doing a holistic analysis. As quoted from the great problem solver, Einstein
“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I would spend fifty-five minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.”
Gaining knowledge about something is a continuous process; the “knower” mindset puts an end to this process. It kills the prospects of further progress and growth.
The main reason why we profess ourselves as knowers, is because of the perception society has created around it. The knowers are applauded, starting from schools that merit based on knowing few things to organizations that want to hire the knowers.
Curiosity gets crumbled as asking questions is not seen as a sign of smartness but being dumb and slow. This leads to pretentions and masking. We would rather mask ourselves as silent knowers rather than curious speakers. This leads to half cooked analysis, horrible decisions and rework. On interpersonal scale there are always judgments, blame games and shaming due to this.
Rather than knowing what is right, our focus should be to learn how to make it right. Correction in approach is needed from the schools itself; where we applaud the kids for what they know rather than for what they observe and ask. We load them with facts and formulae; irony being while teaching we end up referring google most of the times for checking the same facts and formulae. In the journey of life personal as well as professional; when we face problems, there is very less facts and formulae application. We are required to observe, analyze and question the context.
As correctly said “learning is lifelong process”, learn from each moment, every problem you are stuck in and every tough situation.
Learning requires alert senses and a lot of empty space in our mind. Let us keep our jar half empty to keep adding more and more colors to it.