I’ve been thinking a lot about the role of the “fool” or “looking stupid” or “embarrassing yourself”. These are all things I’d rather avoid myself but if I want to grow there really isn’t avoiding that. I think most times we try our best not to look foolish. After all, we all learn at a very young age that to be called, “stupid” or “dumbass” is one of the worst offenses!
But that’s a shame because when you’re on the road to self-growth. Looking stupid and being dumb is exactly what you need to do in order to move forward. And if you can find a way to go through that phase all in private, then good for you, but most likely you will be found out. And what do you do then? You can try to hide it, or you can just kinda say, “Well, I’m new to this, I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m going to do it anyway”. Sure, people might laugh and give you a hard time but at least you’re allowing yourself a chance to get better. And if you do it long enough you might find that the same people that were laughing at you will be the ones asking you for advice.
But first, you must begin. You need to dive in unprepared. Knowing far less than you’d want to know. Looking far less elegant than you’d like to look. Flailing your arms and looking like a fool for a good amount of time before you have any inkling of knowing what you’re doing. But eventually, you will. Here’s a nice saying by one of my favorite authors:
“Anyone who isn’t embarrassed by who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough”.
- Alain de Botton
Maybe looking like a fool isn’t such a bad thing.
by Jason Lam