Ignorance. Definition: lack of knowledge, education or awareness.
Most of us desire to improve. Some of us are more driven then others. Nonetheless, we strive to be better everyday. Recently, I found one of the main stumbling blocks is ignorance. Ignorance is not necessarily a flaw that we should beat ourselves up about too much. Some might say, it is hard wired into us. As a built-in self-defence mechanism, we sometimes subconsciously “choose” to ignore problems even if they are right in front of us. To others, it appears we are in denial. I could go into a lengthy discussion about whether we are sometimes in denial or we are just ignorant. But that is not my point, so I won’t. I will leave it up to the specialists. But the bottom line is, we are missing out on opportunities to improve.
So how can we be more mindful about these missed opportunities? There are many ways. For example, meditation, retrospectives or receiving feedback from others, etc. Some of these methods require much more discipline than others. But there is one main common ingredient for any approach to work – Openness. Here is why. Even if opportunities are identified, it is very easy to ignore or dismiss their validity and/or importance. Some say, the more intelligent we are, the more creative and convincing the excuses we can conjure up. Therefore, our mind is “Closed” again.
One technique, I have seen other coaches use to open our minds and “see” the opportunities is conducting elaborate demonstrations and experiments with concrete examples. During these demonstrations, information is presented back to us by reorganizing data and presenting it in different formats. It often allows us to see new patterns emerge. These coaches carefully “walk us through” these demonstrations. I also observed that the more effective ones are the ones that let us experience the new patterns. Finally, I think this has some connection with Reframing – a technique often used in Positive Psychotherapy.