“Beginners at Heart”

On the Bright Side, a column that I write for our monthy newsletter at work
by Jason Goodnight

We have arrived in the information age. Most of us spend several hours a day staring at computers inside of huge man made buildings. We use our hard earned money to go to gyms so we can exercise our stagnant bodies. Every environment we’re in is air conditioned. If a question is posed, we simply “Google” the answer. If we need to buy something, we can find it online and have it shipped to our homes. If we want to watch our favorite show, we simply click a mouse. As a culture we live in a state of luxury. Truth be told, we’re spoiled.

We’re so saturated with information that many tradesmen lose work, because former clientele became “experts” by watching YouTube do-it-yourself videos. Everybody and their brother are writing blogs stating their opinions about life, while professional magazines and newspapers lose work. The former reverence for higher education and historic paternal hierarchy is all but dissolved. Kids start Internet businesses and make millions. Many people work from home for decades on end. What an amazing world we live in. We’re inundated with conveniences, entertainment, and almost all the information from history past.

We’ve got it all figured out… or do we?
Although our culture encourages us to believe that we’re experts at everything, the fact that we think we’re experts proves that we’re not. The last hundred years have proven that there is always progress to be made. In many ways we have allowed our great progress to make us proverbially obese, lazy and sluggish, instead of using our great progress as a platform to make greater progress. We’re realizing that progress does not always equate to satisfaction. Look at the global economy, for instance. If we’re so smart why are we in such a bind? Look at our children and the overuse of video games. Our fast food industry.

Although this idea is applicable to the broader world, on several levels, consider science and it’s future. We know firsthand that science and curiosity is needed in today’s world. But what I want to address is the personal application for us.

When we allow ourselves to be conclusion-ists, pessimistic, and prideful, we can have a tendency to begin to criticize the people around us. We let our current situations become boring to us. We can even be the primary cause of depression in our own lives, because we allow ourselves to see things dismally, as if there is nothing left to be explored and tried.

Or, we can let ourselves be captivated by life again; we can expect the best out of our peers, we can continue to research topics that we love. We can stop being critical of others. We can stop talking behind others’ backs. We can make goals again. We can allow ourselves to play again. We can explore, we can learn, we can grow. We can humble ourselves, believing that there will always be a need for growth in our understanding. After all, it is our false assumptions of the world around us that hinders us from being able to see a lot of the great beauty and mystery that swarms around us.
We have to believe there is always hope this day can hold joy, excitement, and satisfaction. Believe there is the possibility for newness. We may have advanced in many ways and we may be “way awesome”, but without hope that today will hold something beautiful and new, our pride stifles wonder. And wonder is what allows us to see beyond ourselves.

Join me this holiday season in laying down our conclusions? And let’s allow wonder to live and breathe again in our lives. Let us become beginners… at heart.


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