Last March I wrote a post revolving around the need to encourage creative thinking beyond reading comprehension. The impetus for the post was inspired by Seth Godin’s manifesto for transforming education, Stop Stealing Dreams. I raised the point that to move beyond a culture of compliance, we needed to teach our children to increase their skills of discernment by questioning what they are taught rather then blind acceptance of the knowledge we feed them.
Who’s dream are you living anyway?
However, before we can effectively teach our children, we must learn how to do this for ourselves. Yet many of us aren’t inspired or motivated enough to do it until we reach a place in our lives where we are tired of finding out that much of the knowledge and beliefs we’ve been programmed to believe over the years simply aren’t working. Unless you have personally reached this place in your own life, you may not see the need for it and may feel that your beliefs have been serving you just fine in life. If so, this post is not for you.
My journey of questioning has been a long one. Much of the time was spent being too concerned about what other people would think. Or I was afraid I would make people angry, so I kept many of those questions to myself.
That all began to change in earnest about a decade ago as a series of life events motivated me to take up the task of sifting through my own knowledge and beliefs. It has become more of a quest for truth really. A desire born out of necessity in realizing that I can’t make very good decisions without it. And frankly, absolutely TIRED of being lied to and running into deceptions at nearly every turn. It is for this reason that truth has become one of my highest values in life, next to love.
How much power have we unconsciously given away?
Along the way, I’ve also learned that lies and deceptions in other people are things I have absolutely no control over. And to this day, it is still more then frustrating when I run into it. However, I still have the power to question my own knowledge, beliefs, and negative programming. This is what I do have some measure of control over and as I learn, I can share with others who may be at a similar place in life.
Yesterday, Frank Sonnenberg ( @FSonnenberg ) tweeted the following:
‘Learning is less about memorizing facts and more about the ability to think.’
I couldn’t agree more. In my response I said, ‘Actually, I’d even go so far as to say that thinking BEFORE memorizing is imperative. Assumption? Or Fact?’ Meaning, before we take the step of intentionally committing knowledge to memory, it would be wise to think about whether or not it’s really a fact or an assumption. In my heart and mind, if it ‘s not information that is truly useful, why would I want to waste my time and energy on memorizing it for automatic recall later? I’ve already spent enough time in my life doing exactly that and didn’t get the results I wanted or needed.
‘Problems cannot be solved with the same level of thinking that created them.’
This brief Twitter encounter prompted me to think about how we acquire knowledge as children. When we are born, we are propelled dramatically onto the scene of this play we call life. We have people around us who act as our teachers and guides for a time until we are old enough to live on our own. Our young, impressionable minds soak up the information we take in all around us; including the knowledge and beliefs of parents, family, friends, teachers, religions, patriotic beliefs, etc. Yet, the average child does not know how to effectively discern and filter all of that knowledge.
The guard of mindfulness has not yet been awakened in most of us to know how to stand watch at the door of our consciousness. We don’t know that we have the power and the choice as to what information we allow to enter and accept as a belief that is true. Instead, we blindly accept what we are told because we either love and trust the people telling us, or we fear their authority and don’t know any better then to believe what we are told.
And here lies the dilemma, if we’ve been programmed with faulty information to begin with, we won’t be able to make very good decisions.
- How can we acquire genuine wisdom unless we get to a place where we can accept the need to question the knowledge we’ve received in the first place?
- How will our children be able to make good decisions that have a positive impact on the future if we continue to ignorantly program them with the same faulty beliefs as we were conditioned to believe?
- Take a look at our country. Are all those beliefs really WORKING for us?
I can’t speak for you. I can only say that much of the beliefs I’ve been conditioned to believe have not worked for me.
I’ve learned that if I value my freedom, I’ve had to become courageous enough to question what I’ve been conditioned to believe throughout my life. I want to be free and I want my children to be free. The only people who wouldn’t want me to question what I believe are those that either do not want me to be free. Or those who would be threatened by that freedom. The only people that wouldn’t want any of us to be truly free are those who would wish to control us….
So let me ask you, just how FREE are you? Really? And if you don’t feel very free, how great of a price are you willing to pay for that freedom?
Are you currently on a similar quest for truth? If so, feel free to share the evolution of your own journey.
NOTE: If you have a post that harmonizes or adds to this topic, please feel free to message me with a link and I will add it to the list of resources below.
Related Posts and Additional Resources:
Honesty: The Plain and Simple Truth by Frank Sonnenberg
Live and Learn by Frank Sonnenberg
Now I’m A Believer by Scott Mabry
Appearances Can Be Deceiving by Bob Burg
How to Answer a Wake Up Call by Jesse Lyn Stoner
Leadership: UBUNTU and the Value of Authenticity by Cyndy Nayer