Be Teachable – Avoid Growing Old and Stubborn

The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge.
-Daniel J Boorstin

Recognize Your Ignorance and Find Wisdom

View from a ridge in Mount Diablo State Park in California.

The recognition of the limitations in our knowledge is essential in gaining wisdom. This recognition is the deciding factor between growing old, bitter and stubborn or becoming brilliant and wise in our later years. Gaining wisdom with age is not a given. It comes with open-mindedness and a willingness to examine our own ignorance.

To be truly inspired is to be willing to doubt the things that you think you know and to listen to ideas with which you may at first disagree.

Age Can Bring Recognition of Ignorance – Personal Perspective

The one consistent change that occurs in my life as I gain years is that the older I get, the clearer my ignorance becomes.

Like most people, as a teenager, I thought I knew everything. As a result, I rarely asked for help and I made a lot of silly mistakes.

As I’ve gained experience in life and have attempted to understand the grand questions: the meaning of life, who is God, why do I exist, etc., I realize more and more each day just how much I don’t know.

This realization has been the key to wisdom and inspiration as it makes me teachable, allows me to ask questions of others and God, and is absolutely essential for any meaningful change in my life. And, it is the key to meditation.

Meditation Through Recognition of Ignorance

One very effective method of meditation is to observe silence while clearing your mind of all things you know or believe to be true.

Recognize your thoughts of good and evil, right and wrong, what you believe about God, why you are here, why the world exists. One-by-one, let go of those thoughts and realize that as an individual human being, you could not possibly know any of these things with absolute certainty. Allow yourself to see God with a clarity that you may have never experienced before.

Daily Action – Second Guess Yourself

Today, second guess something that you believe you know to be true. Ask what other people believe about that idea. Then, ask God for clarification and take time to silently meditate on that belief. You may find that you will gain a new and refreshing view or you may further solidify your belief. Either way, wisdom and humility will be gained.

About the author


I am Danny Kohn, writer and designer for this site and owner, software engineer and consultant for Inspirations Software Design. My three greatest passions in life are sharing time with my family, software design and sharing inspiration with others. I have the incredible privilege of being able to spend a significant amount of time every day doing each of those three things. I am a single father of Tristen, our 6 year old son. It has been such an incredible joy to watch him grow up and learn so much. Everything he does and says overwhelms me with adoration. We have a wonderful evening ritual of reading books together in a beanbag chair. Nearly every night, we have a laughing attack together. I smile and giggle constantly in his presence and feel truly inspired.

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  1. Web Authors Who Inspire Me III : Be Inspired Every Day says:

    […] is a part of being an adult. Stress makes us old and bitter before our time. My very first post, Be Teachable – Avoid Growing Old and Stubborn, touches on this idea by discussing one important trait of […]

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