Keanu Reeves once said:
"Try to be wrong once in a while, it’ll do your ego good."
And he makes a strong point.
Being wrong will definitely help you keep your ego in check, but I'm going to expand on his quote to talk about an even greater topic.
It's not just a matter of being wrong that we can't be afraid of.
We must have the courage to embrace being fools.
Everything starts from zero
I don't know about you, but a life where you never make anything of yourself at all doesn't sound cool to me.
But here's the thing:
In order to make anything of yourself at all, you need to be comfortable starting from zero.
And starting from zero makes you a fool.
Now, don't take "fool" to be an insult, even though it's commonly used as such.
Being a fool, in this sense, means:
- You make uninformed decisions.
- You don't know what you're doing.
- You have no prior experience or background.
- You generally need someone's help to get started on the right foot.
With absolutely everything you've ever done in life, there was a day when you had zero clue how to do it.
You didn't know what to do.
Maybe you had a mentor guiding you.
And then, through your own practice and with the help of others, you got really good at it.
Look at your role models. Entrepreneurs, chefs, investors, tech geniuses. They all started in the same way too.
Nobody comes born with experience and perfect knowledge of anything. And yet, everyone you know who excels at anything buried their ego, made a fool of themselves, and got started anyway.
Get comfortable starting from zero, because that's where it all begins.
You're uninformed and you're wrong. So what?
Wear the label of the fool proudly, because it means you had the courage to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.
The people who think they're smart by staying in their comfort zones are mistaken.
Don't be the guy who:
- Only engages in conversation regarding what they know.
- Never offers an opinion or thought on unfamiliar subject matter.
- Doesn't step out of their comfort zone to try something new.
You don't know everything and you never will. You will find yourself a fool at certain points in your life, and I ask:
If you don't keep your inflated ego in check, you're going to hold back your growth, and you'd have to ask yourself which one really matters more to you: your delicate sense of dignity, or your overall progress as an individual?
I'll save you the suspense: No, you won't know 100% of the time. And that's ok.
Nobody has all the answers, and being lost doesn't make you an idiot.
It's part of the gig of being a human – you're not going to know everything and you're not an expert in all subject matter.
I personally love listening to someone ramble on and on about their expertise in something, especially when it's something I know nothing about.
I gladly lay myself down as a fool and let them fill up my empty cup with what they know.
Thinking you know everything is like filling a cup that's already full. You're clogging your ability to learn.
Don't use this lack of expertise as a breeding ground for your insecurities.
- Ask yourself how things work.
- Get your hands dirty and experiment.
- Try things out and see what you like and don't like.
- Explore new territory and discover your new favorite thing.
- Step out of your comfort zone.
Like I said, anyone who's ever been good at anything was not afraid to be a fool.
So if you want to be the new hot writer, artist, painter, or chef on the block, embrace starting from zero with an open mind.
Anything you could ever want to be in life is locked behind a pathway of inexperience, foolishness, curiosity, courage, and open-mindedness.
Go out there and learn. Be curious, stay humble, and keep trying new things.
The day you stop, the day you lose that curiosity, is the day you die.