I was listening to Kevin Kelly, the founding executive editor of Wired Magazine, on the Freakonomics podcast. He mentioned how research shows that when we meet someone, we only see two per cent of who they are and they only see two per cent of who we are. Everyone has a story that many of us don’t know about. So keep that perspective before making a judgement. Often we decide things off that ‘first impression.’ But there is so much more to it.
He also said we only know about ten per cent of ourselves. Imagine that! We’ve known ourselves for our whole life, yet we have so much more to learn about who we are.
Twice last week, I heard the idea mentioned that there are many languages outside the ones we speak.
Math, music, art and drama are also languages. How do you feel when you see a work of art, watch a play or listen to a song? What is the message? Historian Heather Cox Richardson said that the line in the Declaration of Independence that says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident” is a mathematical reference in that we hold formulas in the same light, as self-evident. Those strings of numbers and letters are also a language that tell a story.
It’s graduation season, and many ask, “What do you want to be? What are you studying?” I would argue that many adults don’t know the answer to that question. And being a lifelong learner is the answer for me.
Kevin Kelly said it’s best to work in a space where there isn’t a language to describe what you are doing. On that razor’s edge. That opportunity that many pass up, but you take a chance on and it ends up being just the thing for you.
Oscar Wilde said, “If you want to be a grocer, or a general, or a politician, or a judge, you will invariably become it; that is your punishment. If you never know what you want to be, if you live what some might call the dynamic life but what I will call the artistic life, if each day you are unsure of who you are and what you know you will never become anything, and that is your reward.”
May we all be rewarded with finding our gift and then giving it away. No matter how long it takes.