Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom helps people realize their unique importance. Using my knowledge of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, my experience with therapy, coaching, somatic healing, and personal growth I create products to help you discover, develop, and express the elements of your identity critical to your health and your contribution to our world. My goal is to research, develop, and disseminate these materials so that every individual can reconnect with their uniqueness, realize their passion and purpose, and live the life they were born to live.
The concept of a personal inventory is common to many therapy, personal growth, and coaching approaches. Essentially, before you can implement a change, you have to know WHAT you’re changing. So the personal inventory is all your STUFF.
And so on. You get the picture. But what many of us DON’T GET is how complex this can be. We are a LOT more complicated than we think.
And before we can pursue the ARE vs. SHOULD problem (Episode 50), we have to know what (WHO) we’re dealing with (Episode 49: Who Are You?). The process of laying out your personal inventory is the first step.
Please subscribe to my YouTube channel or Podcast if you want to follow the development of the ARE vs. SHOULD problem. And more importantly, comment below if you have input, criticism, or insight.
This is the final episode in the Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom Curiosity series. I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into, whether I’d be a good interviewer, or whether people I did, or didn’t know, would have anything interesting to say about Curiosity. Well, I learned a TON about myself and about curiosity, and I hope that these interviews stimulate Curiosity in others.
I only knew one of the interviewees personally, and I we had really just met. And I knew little, if anything about the other eight. These interviews represent two people meeting, for the first time mostly, and having a conversation about whatever came to mind and using Curiosity as a starting point.
I was amazed to get so many points of view about what I thought was a pretty straightforward subject. Turns out, Curiosity is a complex idea and a word that means many things to different people. It makes me wonder if most words are like that, or if most things have a more discreet definition.
Of course Curiosity is about wanting to know things, but I was surprised to hear several people say that Curiosity is innate; we are born with a ‘ravenous’ Curiosity (according to Bernhard Kutzler, with whom I now agree). This makes me wonder, then, why we aren’t as curious when we get older? Dana Humphrey suggests it could be because curiosity often stimulates ACTION, and that taking action requires courage. Are we afraid of being curious? Fascinating.
Some folks seem to live in a world that is literally FULL of curiosity. David McRaney, for example, says he has never been bored, or never NOT been curious! And I know from experience, and several interviewees agreed, that being curious is what helps motivate me to get out of bed in the morning. So, it seems Curiosity is a GOOD thing, at least, despite potentially requiring some scary actions sometimes.
Several key elements of being human were brought up by other interviewees. There was a theme of how important it is to love yourself first and to not listen to the ‘roommate’ voice in your head trying to beat you up. It seems the state of being Curious requires a ‘healthy life’, both mentally and physically, to allow the Curiosity to blossom. And maybe this gets at how Curiosity can be ‘expressed’ into action, or held in our minds as mental wonder.
But this theme that Curiosity, both as a mental construct and as a DOING in the world, seems important. And from this series I conclude that Curiosity is a natural part of being human, and that it is CRITICAL that we nurture a curiosity to maintain health, or to ward of a state of dis-ease. Curiosity, somehow, is pushed to the side as we age and we must consciously make an effort to maintain a Curious state of mind if we want to live full lives. It is clear to me now that maintaining a healthy Curiosity is as important as being kind to yourself or practicing daily meditation or similar habits.
There is much more to be understood, but I truly appreciate the knowledge shared and created during these interviews and for the time each person shared with us. I hope you enjoy listening and that you hear or see something that makes you Curious.
At the risk of being cheesy I present the final interview in KEW’s Curiosity series with myself. Really, this is just a chance to reflect on the nine interviewees and what they had to say about curiosity. This was a really fun series and I learned that curiosity has an extremely broad definition and plays a much larger role in the whole ‘the meaning of life’ construct.
From Paul Gadola’s ‘curiosity demands that we live with integrity’ to Marcas Hemmila’s ‘being curious despite what other people think’, there is a ton of wisdom in these interviews.
It was truly my pleasure to get to talk to these great folks, and to learn from them as well.
As I move toward Episode 50 and what I hope to be a major shift in what I’m working toward with KEW, I realize how important Unlearning is.
How do we KNOW if we REALLY know what we THINK we know?
Well, we don’t. But we can think about it. And unlearning comes in to play as a necessary ‘next step’ for those of us who have ever asked this kind of question. Or questions like:
Who am I? What’s all this about? What’s the meaning of life? Is there life after death? Why is my dad so racist?
Generally, Unlearning is only important to people who have ever wondered WHY they feel a certain way, think a certain way, or behave a certain way. Where did this ‘certain way’ come from? I’ll develop this idea much further after episode 50, but for now let’s say that MUCH of what we think, what we ARE, WHO we are comes from stuff we never really thought much about. Things we automatically learned as we grew up. Some of it we learned before we even had awareness. Or free will. Some of us carry these beliefs into adulthood. Some of us never know.
But for those of us who DO know. Who have asked these types of questions (who ARE you?). The first thing we have to do is recognize what we really KNOW and FEEL and BELIEVE and what’s just a bunch of stuff we learned. And then to sort of ‘wipe the slate clean’ and start over. That’s where UNLEARNING comes in. That’s all I’m saying when I say UNLEARN.
It’s about questioning our beliefs and our thoughts. It’s about figuring out what we DO think and believe. And about getting on the path toward exploring what life is all about. It’s pretty simple.
I hope you enjoy this week’s episode and stick around for what’s to come. Please follow me on my blog and/or YouTube and SIGN UP for weekly emails so you can participate in the development of these ideas.
I’m beginning to believe that before we can really learn anything, we have to unlearn everything we ‘know’ related to that thing. Not necessarily because of a limited capacity to learn, but because a lot of what we ‘know’ can be unhelpful, misleading, or outright wrong.
Maybe this is a controversial statement, that much of what we ‘know’ is wrong. But it seems obvious to me at this point that we have been taught a whole bunch of stuff that we have never thought about.
Examples I use in this episode include religion, politics, and music. There are tons more. An example of being wrong about what you know is your religions affiliation. Are you a Christian? How? Why? Did you make that decision? When? Did you consider all of the other religions equally and then DECIDE you were Christian? Hopefully, you see what I’m saying.
Some things we just never THINK about, but we LEARNED them. From our parents. Our siblings. Our extended family. Our school teachers. Our bosses. All of the people around us teach us things every day. Some of this we are aware of.
Probably we learn things before we can really comprehend them. No ones fault, it’s just a thing that happens. Then it’s just a matter of whether or not we ever realize this and, if we do, whether we then try to decide for ourselves.
Oh yeah, unlearning. So before we can really LEARN anything, we have to unlearn the stuff we learned when we weren’t paying attention. So, if that’s true – did we really LEARN it in the first place? I don’t know about that, but I think we still have to unlearn first.
Full podcast and video episodes this Friday on KEW.
It literally took me ten years to figure this one out. After nearly a decade of Cognitive Behavioral and psychological therapies, I had figured out my brain, my issues, and what I needed with respect to personal growth and mastering my limiting beliefs. The problem was, I wasn’t seeing the changes I wanted.
Sure, learning about and understanding myself and other people had it’s benefits and made me feel better. But nothing about ME was really changing except for my knowledge. My equation was unbalanced. All K, no E.
So the Experience has to come in somewhere.
And what I’ve learned – over the past ten years but mores recently – is that our minds don’t really change as a result of thinking.
In just about any kind of self help endeavor you will be asked to identify your values. While this sounds pretty easy, the process is far from simple. Turns out we like a lot of stuff. We ‘value’ many things. The trick is determining your top 3-5 values that truly drive you to live your life.
Over the course of ten years of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or talk therapy, I read and heard a lot about values, but it wasn’t until I put some real effort in that I discovered the, well, VALUE, of my values.
Values are things you believe are important in the way you live your life. Values determine your priorities and are a source of motivation.
That’s pretty good, but there are some easy-to-miss key points.
You BELIEVE values are important. Values are subjective and unique to you. YOU decide what they are. Values can be revealed by thinking about what you LIKE, or don’t like.
Values are things you prioritize; either consciously or subconsciously. Values can be identified by thinking about things you DO, or don’t do.
Values motivate you. Values are things that make you feel excited to get out of bed in the morning. Or, things you don’t value or want to do can make you wanna pull the covers up and go back to sleep.
There are TONS of resources on the inter webs that can help you identify your values, but all of these methods are deceptively simple. The KEY is to go through multiple iterations, take breaks, and to do some sort of ranking. I estimate I put in nearly ten hours of writing, thinking, journalling, rearranging, ranking, and repeating to get down to my set of 4 values.
There’s also a tricky side to values. Being humans, we tend to focus on things we consider to be ‘good’ and ‘healthy’ when considering our values. There are also values, many call ‘SHADOW values’ that also motivate you, help you prioritize, and reflect the things you do.
However, shadow values, at least on the surface, might not be something you’d be comfortable sharing with others.
Shadow values can be things like having a lot of money, being powerful, having people obey your word, being the center of attention, or wanting people to behave in ways that make you happy.
But the reason shadow values are beneficial are twofold: 1) They help you understand the darker side of your motivations and can help you achieve your goals and be your best self by embracing ALL of your characteristics, and 2) can almost always be softened to see the non-selfish attributes of seemingly nefarious concepts or intangible ideas.
For example. Being motivated by money doesn’t necessarily mean you are evil or Scrooge-like. Knowing you want to be wealthy can reflect a need for safety or a desire to protect your family. See how we can flip something that seems narcissistic to something that comes from a better part of your self?
The purpose of values and shadow values is to create a list of motivating factors critical to your life. I wrote mine down and keep them in several places to remind myself of why I do what I do. My values have become a tool I use to direct all of my personal growth and spiritual work. Knowing, and truly understanding my values, has enabled me to focus and to think less about things that don’t show up on that list. In short, this has made my life easier.
Much more in this episode, I hope you find this useful.
This week I share my story about identifying my values. Identifying values is one of those things that sounds easy, but is not simple. Sure, anyone can sit down with some online tools (like James Clear’s Life Lessons values journal), but it’s deceptively difficult to REALLY drill down to your personal values.
On the surface values are things like love, joy, safety, and other intangibles that motivate you to live your life. Values are things we strive for or consider important in our lives.
I spent nearly ten years on the surface of my values. While I had a vague idea what the things I valued were, I didn’t really understand the importance of knowing my values, and how to use that knowledge.
I’ll share how I ACTUALLY learned to identify my values, a bit about our ‘secret’ values, and why you will benefit from knowing about yours.
I’ve been addicted to nicotine since I was around 15 years old. Ten years of cigarettes, traded those for dip tobacco for another decade, and have chewed nicotine gum on and off since it has been available without prescription. I say I have a nicotine addiction, but it’s really about the habit more than anything. I’m addicted to the part of my identity that says I’m addicted to nicotine.
In this episode I bring in many other examples. Some familiar like tobacco or alcohol, and others you might not think of as addictions. More than anything, I think we’re addicted to our beliefs and habits. But we can break those things! We can rebuild, and recast ourselves in new identities. Which is a big part of what KEW is about.
If you’re addicted to something, or if you think you aren’t, I hope you gain some insight from a listen or a view. Thanks for sharing!