Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Learning Curve Ball, Scary people, and Unknown Unknowns


Welcome to another update from "Saturday" the book.  This week's edition lands us squarely on page 28, wherein India is talking to one of her neighbors at the tail end of a long, strange day.  When India first runs into Leon, she's terrified of him.  He's a huge, scary-looking dude.  But ultimately, she discovers her fear is only the result of not really knowing anything about him.

I've met some interesting people in my life.  Drug addicts, millionaires, people suffering from mental illness, scientists and housewives, war refugees, social workers, loggers and police officers.  Years ago,  I met a guy who could bend horseshoes in half with his bare hands.  One time, as I was walking to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives.  He looked tired.

My impulse is usually to make some asinine assumption about these people based on a cursory understanding of what they do.  But it isn't until I ask questions about who they are (and why) that I begin to understand anything at all about them.  And what I begin to understand is that people are never, ever easily understood.

I've always felt a bit behind the curve when it comes to learning important lessons.  I get things wrong A LOT.  I even misunderstood lessons themselves.  I've had this idea for most of my life that lessons are this finite thing.  That you learn a lesson and the lesson comes to an end and then you know that thing the lesson taught you.  You are imbued with the wisdom of that lesson.  But of course, that's not really true.  Not for me, anyway.  Most of my lessons are ongoing.  I never really arrive at some truth because that truth shifts and changes (usually just when I think I've got it nailed down).

It's pretty humbling.  But it's also pretty cool that my understanding will expand as long as I allow it to.


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