Few things bring to mind the concept of pride more vividly than a peacock. They flash, they squawk, they mesmerize with their fluttering beauty. Our pride creates the same distraction from our own personal growth. Pride does not ask questions; it has all the answers. Pride judges. Pride tears down others to feel superior. Pride sees only the reflection of it’s own rightness. Like the peacocks we used to have that would peck their reflection in the sliding glass doors to bloody gruesomeness, unwilling to accept the reflection was not a foe, but its own image
“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” —Herbert Spencer
This topic has come up a great deal in our home lately because we have a highly intelligent child who’s computer brain is nothing short of a data processor. She collects data, remembers it, sorts it, redistributes it at the precise relevant moment and argues nuances of fine points most would not recognize. She recently had her feelings hurt when her sister was chosen to be tested as gifted and she was not. After all she knows how smart she is!
So how can a superbly smart ‘anyone’ be over looked? The answer was simple. When the teacher introduces concepts she replies with “Oh I know”. Her sister on the other hand says “Oh that’s cool, why does it do that, how long has it done that, will it do that in space?”. The teachers have accurately identified that an inquisitive mind and a person who asks good questions has far greater capacity for learning; which has little to do with their actual IQ.
Brilliance can be limited when strangled by pride. Pride shuts off further inquiry. Pride already has all the answers. Most of ALL PRIDE SAYS THIS IS MY WAY AND IT MAY SUCK, BUT IT’S ALL MINE AND I’M NOT GOING TO GIVE IT UP!
This is something I constantly guard against in my own life. I see pride as a dark cloud that pits me against others, makes them wrong, makes me miserable and keeps everyone stuck. When I start to think I have all the answers it’s time to step back and ask “Is that really true?” If I’m so brilliant then how did I allow myself to get into this dark state? How did I allow myself to make these mistakes? If I honestly look at my life and assess my choices it is clear there is much learning to do. There are those who do believe they have all the answers. This is quite common in the first half of our lives. Some of us are full of pride, because we are in our prime, on top of the world, most of our decisions do turn out. Then what happens? Life happens. We are knocked down a few rungs. The question then becomes does pride continue to take over making us bitter, regretful and depressed? Or do we allow the grace of humility into our lives? Do we stop saying “I know” and start saying “can you tell me more”.
TIP FOR THE DAY:
Every time someone has something to share with you say “tell me more” instead of “I know”. Notice how “I know” is a conversation stopper. It kills creativity. It creates social awkwardness in a conversation. Guess who looks like the socially challenged? We need only look in the mirror. Someone may have the exact answer we need to help us break through some limiting parenting, business or emotional issue and we repsond with “I know” or the other sister of PRIDE the pretending we don’t hear what the person is saying. That is a clear clue that our pride has tuned them out and we have committed ourselves to everlasting ignorance.
That’s ok because guess who drives pride out into the open for what it is really is …. PAIN
Pride says “I know”. Pain says “I don’t know, please help me”. When we ask for help others will come. We may hear what we need as long as Pride does not interfere. Pride prevents relief from pain.
How many questions would we ask today if we remembered that we are remarkable and amazing? Would remembering how great we are help us have the confidence to ask questions? Pride is the cover up for severe insecurities. Wise ones know this and sit back and watch the peacocks who peck at their own reflection in the mirror. Once they are willing to see this, then wise ones are ready to help them. If our lives seem bloody and gruesome then stop pecking and start looking around. Start asking questions. Allow the grace of humility to enter and burn off the false pride that hinders our own personal growth.