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Beliefs, opinions and wisdom

Can knowledge be a hand brake? 

By Trevor Coltham

While training or coaching sales teams / leaders, I’m often sharing a tool, process, or some reframed way of thinking.

It’s not uncommon for someone to say, “I already do that” or “Let me tell you how I did that last week”.

When I dig deeper, I often find that reality is quite different.

Reminds me of a story I heard at an NLP training once. A Japanese Zen master was visited by a university professor curious about Zen.

Nan-in (the Japanese Master) served tea. He filled the professor’s tea cup until full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow for a little while, once he no longer could restrain himself he said "It is overfull. No more will go in it!"

Like this cup, Nan-in said,

"You are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"

The difference maybe the way people approach knowledge, which is linked to our internal values system.
Does a person value being right or being approved more than a passion for learning or visa versa?

Author, Carol Dweck highlights two mindsets: A Fixed Mindset or Growth Mindset.

Successful people have a growth mindset, are always curious and understand that to foster success they can always improve every aspect of life.

Especially as we age, we must consciously endeavour to opening our minds, embracing new ideas and set challenging goals.

Our minds do seek certainty, and we can still achieve certainty by knowing we can find an even better way if we don’t need to be right all the time.

Ultimately, it’s not about taking everything someone tells you as truth or forgetting everything you already know. It’s about having the self-awareness that we have a learned automatic pilot mode.

Our current beliefs, opinions, even wisdom might be a handbrake.

It’s about being able to press pause on what you already know until you have piloted new learning or distinctions.

If they prove useful after a few weeks add them to your toolbox, if not, move on.