Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Can the Curse of Knowledge Be the Cause of Your Unhappiness?


The great courageous act that we must all do, is to have the courage to step out of our history and past so that we can live our dreams.

~Oprah Winfrey~

 Our beliefs drive our identity. Our identity drives our behavior. Our behavior drives our outcomes. These simple truths provide us with an awareness of the importance of our beliefs as they relate to realizing our God-given potential and engaging experiences that cause us to feel satisfied about our lives. I’m sure you have heard many messages on the importance of your beliefs such as, “If you believe, you can achieve,” “Nothing is impossible to him that believes,” and “If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.” Yet, you still struggle with believing in yourself and in your ability to manifest the life experiences you desire. Is it that you continue to doubt yourself because of the curse of knowledge?
What You Know Can Be Causing Your Unhappiness

What do I mean by the curse of knowledge? Consider this, when you are faced with a challenge or opportunity, how often do you consider your past experiences or other people’s opinion before determining your response? It is only natural for us to use our experiences as a gauge for what we believe is possible in our life. However, I argue that our inability to see our experiences with “new” eyes prevent us from realizing the potential that exists within each “new” experience. For example, how many times have you heard that people bring their “baggage” into new relationships? What does this mean? It means that each time one enters a new relationship of any kind, the “new” relationship has to compete with the knowledge of similar experiences. If those experiences were positive then you will embrace “new” relationships with an openness and positive expectation. If on the other hand your experiences were negative, you are more apt to be cautious and have low expectations about the relationship becoming a rewarding experience. The curse of knowledge influences each of us to assume that we know how a relationship is going to unfold, primarily because of our past experiences.

Embrace Life with a Childlike Faith

I’m sure you can look back at your life, just as I can, and recall thoughts that you believed to be true only to find out that what you believed was not true. We’re all guilty of this. How can we embrace “new” experiences with a frame of mind that gives each of them an opportunity to bloom or go bust before we assume that we know how they will unfold? We have to nurture a childlike faith in our heart.

When a child is told something by his parents, he believes it to be so. He accepts their word without resistance because he isn’t operating under the influence of the curse of knowledge. He hasn’t experienced the disappointments, heartache and adversity that cause many adults to develop a pessimistic perspective about life in general. The child gets in agreement with the word spoken by his parents and behave in the manner that reinforces his agreement of what has been told to him.

By no means am I suggesting that you ignore your smarts in discerning the validity of someone’s intentions toward you. A person’s character is not always evident when you meet them. I get that. You have to allow time and their actions to give you a view of their beliefs and how they drive his or her identity and behavior. It is a fact that our beliefs show up in the private conversations we have with ourselves and in our public conversations with others. Our words and actions are a reflection of the “word in our heart” i.e. our beliefs. This is true for each of us.

Curiosity Builds Self-Confidence

We have to be discerning of people motives AND be open to allowing the process of a relationship or any other situation unfold. Our culture promotes a “drive-thru” mentality. If something doesn’t happen quickly in a relationship we begin to lose interest. Some of this has to do with the fact that many of us come from broken homes and we didn’t have the pleasure of witnessing what it takes to build lasting relationships. Many people project their beliefs and feelings about past personal experiences on their professional experiences. This habit can certainly create conflict and confusion in professional settings.

Many people have lost their ability to develop face to face friendships. They feel more comfortable behind a computer screen. They refuse to engage in new experiences where they can meet new people and develop new friendships. When we lose that sense of curiosity we had as a child, our life has a tendency to shrink. We have to be proactive in maintaining our sense of curiosity and dismiss the notion that we are not strong enough to handle whatever life brings. Each of us are stronger and smarter than we give ourselves credit.

Many of the doubts you have about what is possible in your life are rooted in what you assume you know because of previous experiences. And this way of thinking is robbing you of experiences that can enhance your wellbeing. In my previous post, 14 Ways Curiosity Can Increase YourHappiness, I list simple steps you can take to reconnect to the your playful and curious self. You don’t always know what you don’t know. When you begin to make it a habit to embrace life with a childlike faith and a sense of wonder and curiosity, life will open up to you in ways you have yet to experience because you don’t know that it can. It’s only in the living of life, we discover all that we don’t know, and how much more we can enjoy our life.
I would like to know what you think. Have you ever felt that knowledge from past experiences prevented you from approaching life with a more open mind and heart? Share your comment below.

Share this article with your network. I would appreciate it.

Until next time…

Step Into Greatness!

Jackie B