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Never Stop Learning

Never stop learning

We can all have a lesson to learn. I listen to radio 4 and recently I heard a very good programme about knowledge and ignorance. The man was saying how for years in his peer group he’d been afraid of speaking up when a topic was being discussed that he knew nothing about, and that rather than admitting that he couldn’t contribute, he’d nod wisely as if he knew what they were all talking about so as not to look stupid.

I didn’t think much more about it but then a few days later I was visiting a friend who’d had business trip to Barcelona and in her day off had been thrilled to visit the Gaudi church and museum.  This friend of mine is massively into and interested in art – and knows a huge amount about it. I am not and know very little.  As she raved about how exciting it had been to see all the Gaudi architecture, I nodded wisely, and sounded enthusiastic about her experience, all the time not having a clue what she was going on about and really not understanding why she was so excited. (There’s an appropriate saying that fits here: – “You don’t know what you don’t know”!!!)

It was only later on that I reflected I had done just what the man on the radio had done. I didn’t want to appear stupid in front of my friend, so I’d nonverbally made out that I knew exactly what she was talking about.

The man on the radio had gone onto say that in later life, as he’d matured, he’d realised what a mistake he’d made, his actions making him miss so many opportunities to learn from his friends about things they knew about and of which he was ignorant. Good point I thought.

Well, this same friend of mine came round to my house recently and was regaling us with taking a dear friend of hers (who is dying of cancer) to the newly opened Michelin star Brooklands restaurant in London in The Peninsula Hotel. She’d come across an article about it’s opening after a 15-year refurbishment when throwing away some chicken bones wrapping them up in an old newspaper.

Apparently, it’s a massive hotel and a large part of it has been done to honour Concorde and all that it stood for. It turned out that this friend of mine had supplied British Airways with much of the Concorde inflight gifts, and as a consequence she’d had a close association with the company for many years. In her telling us about the hotel she described various bits of art and artistic features that were there. For example, the carpet on the way to the entrance of the Brooklands restaurant has a Mach II design. I had no idea was Mac2 (that’s how I envisioned it spelt) was. I was just about to nod enthusiastically, when I thought, no “I’ll ask her “. Without blinking or any sort of “Gosh your ignorant look” she explained (almost delightedly) that Mach 2 was twice the speed of sound.  [Supersonic speed is the speed of an object that exceeds the speed of sound (Mach 1).] So now I was a little bit more informed; she was delighted to have shared her knowledge and our conversation was ever so much deeper and involved than if I’d continued to let her think that I knew what she was talking about when really, I didn’t have a clue.

There’s another point here – and that is that generally we humans love sharing our knowledge. When someone asks us about something, rather than thinking they are ignorant, we delight in passing on what we know to them.

Personally, I’m going to try to do this much more often – and in doing so, I know I’m going to become much more knowledgeable about all sorts of things – and my conversation will probably be much more interesting as a result!

Now the point of telling you all this is of course to apply it to dating. Dating is one of those areas in life, that because pretty much everyone single is doing it, it’s easy to have the view or belief that you ‘ought’ to know all about how to do it. Admitting that you don’t know how to do it, or don’t have all the skills to make your dating a great success, is like me admitting to my friend that I was completely ignorant about Gaudi. It feels really hard to do. But once you get over yourself – or your fear of looking stupid to others – you can open yourself up to wonderful new skills, knowledge – and in the dating world – the end prize – a great relationship!

Why are there so many books written about dating, relationships, marriage etc. It’s because there is A LOT to learn – in fact as long as we live, we’ll probably always have something to learn about relationships that can help us improve our own.

Be open to all the learning that is out there (from us and from others) about dating and relationships. It’s OK to admit you don’t know it all. No-one is going to think less of you if you say you need some advice about an aspect of dating. In fact, people will be delighted to share their knowledge with you and see you move forward positively and successfully.

Perhaps try it out in another sphere of life – ask someone to explain something they mention that you know nothing about – and see what happens. I promise you it’s quite liberating. I certainly know I have a different future ahead of me and will learn so much from others.

This comes with our blessings to you.