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Some lessons I wish I could have learned earlier in life

I recently learned a few lessons I wish I could have learned earlier in my life. However, I am grateful these lessons came to me now, so I decided to share them with you hoping you won’t have to wait to later in life, as it was in my case, to learn and implement these lessons.

First, I recently learned that the opposite of an open mind is not a closed mind, but an empty mind.

After reading that statement, I thought that is true that many times we wrongly assume that whatever we think is the only think to be thought and, therefore, that there is nothing beyond that able to challenge our thoughts or beliefs. We then “empty” our minds of any idea or experience contradicting our own ideas or different from our own doctrines.

In other words, an empty mind wants and desires to remain empty. This is not an act of unlearning something to learn something new, but a decision (probably conscious) to not learn anything because we assume that either we already know everything or that there is nothing to be learned.

A preacher from ancient times warned us about the danger of leaving an “empty house”, because you never know who or what to enter and live there.

I also learned that it is useless to have good eyes if the brain is blind. This expression is obviously connected with the one that says that the worst kind of blindness is a person who doesn’t want to see.

Basically, a blind brain is something affecting all of us, and not necessarily for moral deficiencies or lack of intellectual abilities. Not to excuse ourselves from our own responsibilities, but we need to recognize we all have blind spots in our brains.

Remember the famous experiment where a group of students were asked to count the number of passes during a basketball game and the students were so focused on that task that they didn’t see a man in a gorilla suit on the court? We see what we can see and what we want to see.

As Annais Nin said, we don’t see things as they are, but as we are.

I also learned another lesson. We all heard about giving a fish to a man, so he can have food for a day or teaching him to fish. so he can food every day. That’s a well-known expression. What is not well-known is that the emphasis of the expression is on teaching, not on fishing.

If I teach somebody how to fish, because I taught him how to do it, now I can also teach others. And that person, having learned how others teach how to fish, will also be able to teach others. Experts describe that situations as transgenerational plasticity.

Yet, not teaching is possible if we keep and empty mind and a closed heard. But we can’t remain blind and closed at this critical and transformational time in the history of humankind.

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