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.
I’m struggling a bit at the beginning of the Are vs. Should Problem I have been discussing in Episodes 51-53. So far, I have introduced the problem; that we all struggle with the person that we ARE and the person we think we SHOULD BE. I have described the first step toward a solution in taking a Personal Inventory. Next, I tried to begin the process of examining the personal inventory by separating items as being described by Hard and Soft realities. This may not make perfect sense yet, but I promise it will.
In Episode 53, the fourth installment, I share a handful of examples and situations for you to ponder in your own life or others’ lives. Situations where you may experience the dichotomy of Are vs. Should. There are infinite examples, but this is one of those things that our minds, or our Ego, can talk us out of. We protect ourselves from being aware of the Are vs. Should by living in the Should. (I suppose there are those who live in the Are, and I am envious and very curious to know more about those people). The Should mind beats us up. It tells us we are not good enough. It convinces us that people look down on us and that our shortcomings are things we have to cover up or change. The Should mind is a bully.
The Are mind can appear to be a push over, childish, or be hidden from view by the overpowering Should bully. In other words, the Are side of us is sometimes hard to see. The personal inventory is one means of examining ourselves objectively, and determining whether an item or experience or belief belongs on the Are vs. Should side.
Hopefully, this weeks’ Episode will be helpful during the examination process. Full Episode coming Friday.
In this first of ten Curiosity interviews I introduce you to Paul Gadola. As I told Paul a few days ago, he is someone who has climbed the mountain, attainted Wisdom, and come back down the mountain to share the Wisdom with us. He has not only put a lot of energy into figuring some things out, he is putting a lot of energy into explaining what he has learned. Chief among his tenets is to Love yourself first. I think you get a pretty good glimpse at that person in the hour that we talked.
I’m proud to share this experience with you, and grateful to have come to know Paul as a colleague and buddy. We talk about Curiosity, but also about self discipline, integrity, and Love. If I never shared this interview with the world I would still be a better person for having experienced it. I truly hope you take the time to watch and to listen to what Paul shares. There is much to learn and more to think about.
I am also fortunate to be reading a draft of book Paul is working on. I will be sure to keep you posted as that evolves.
I am learning that our brain, mind, head, is not who we ARE. We are not the VOICE in our heads, we are the one LISTENING to the voice in our heads. What we call ‘our head’ is largely our analytical mind, and it’s just a part of the larger ‘us’ or ‘self’.
Yeah, that’s a lot to ingest. And it’s a lot for me to type out and mean. It’s a compilation of things I’ve learned over the last decade. In traditional talk therapy. Through the myriad self help, neuroscience, and personal growth books I’ve read. And, more recently, through some somatic healing work I’ve been doing. But the more I learn, the more I realize – at the VERY LEAST – our ‘head’ is only one part of us.
I think many of us have lived the majority of our lives in our heads. And it makes sense. Our heads communicate in the same language we speak. Our heads offer us company and advice. Our heads seem like ‘us’. And, I guess, they are. But our head does not have to be our boss. In fact, our head doesn’t always have the right answers. Our head isn’t always the best source of advice. Our head is comprised of multiple parts that might actually be less helpful as advisors than our body, our heart, or ‘gut’. Certainly, it is worth getting to know the multiple parts that comprise our selves, and ‘getting out of our heads’ is an entry point to that pathway.
Getting out of our heads can begin by simply not listening to the voices that arise there. Meditation is a great method to learn how to not listen. Rather than reinventing the wheel, following a meditation plan to stop the ‘monkey mind’, ‘self talk’, ‘chatter’, and other noise that goes on in our heads is an excellent primer on this process.
And once you can stop listening to your analytical mind, the doors open up to listen to all the other parts of you. For me, the discovery that I am more than just my analytical mind has been absolutely life changing. It’s the closest thing to magic I’ve ever experienced. It’s why I tried psychedelic drugs in my youth. It’s what I have longed for my whole life – and it was there all along. Now that I have learned to listen to my body instead of my mind, I have truly started to change.
On our journey to define the ARE vs SHOULD problem (Episode 50), we must first define the ‘existing conditions’. Like many scientific endeavors (and I’m NOT saying this is a scientific endeavor, rather, that I will take a scientific APPROACH), the Are vs Should investigation needs to know where it’s coming from to understand where it’s going.
And, really, the personal inventory is just that – it defines where we are at the beginning of our adventure. Doesn’t every good movie do the same thing? Isn’t this really just a classic ‘set the scene’ device we use to tell stories and keep them interesting?
And so on the path to personal growth and figuring out the Are vs. Should problem, we will first lay everything out on the table and start from there. Carlos Castaneda, in the books he wrote about Don Juan Matus, talked a lot about the table, and the tonal, as being the field of the ‘known’ or the ‘earthly’ possessions humans carry around with them.
But the personal inventory is about much more than just physical objects. It’s the feelings we have, the people we know, the relationships we build, the cars we drive, the foods we eat, and so on, and so on, ad infinitum.
Truly, the personal inventory is the story of everything that has happened to us in our lives up to the point at which we build the personal inventory. And, yes, it’s a huge job and no, I don’t expect you to nail every last thing.
The idea is that, if someone asked you about the ‘basics’ of the inventory: your likes, dislikes, wants, needs, desires, values, etc. you’d probably be able to come up with a handful of things quickly. And you might even think that those things ‘pretty much’ described who you are. And that’s the problem. We don’t see ourselves as being all that complex. Or maybe not AS complex as we truly are.
We are ourselves and our experiences. So TIME is a huge factor here. Our personal inventory is also our personal HISTORY. Much of the personal inventory is things we haven’t done, or thought about, in a long time. It’s our past and our present. It’s who we ARE and who we WERE. It’s physical and it’s metaphysical.
And, again, the idea is not to be complete nor obsessive. The idea is to think about this as much as we can, to establish a ‘who am I’ table full of things, and then to move forward.
Building your personal inventory can be fun. You will be surprised how interesting you are if you push yourself beyond your comfort zone and tolerate the pain of a thorough investigation of your self.
And, truly, if you don’t put forth an earnest effort (and you must define what that is for yourself), you will not make much progress on the Are vs. Should problem. The more you reveal about yourself, the more material you will have to work with.
While I’m not entirely sure what will come next, it will very likely focus on an ASSESSMENT of the personal inventory to think about where and how these pieces of you came to be. And whether they need to stay. Or go. And whether there are things missing that you wish were there. Please comment below with thoughts you might have about what comes next. More next week in Episode 52.
“I meant no harm I most truly did not, but I had to grow bigger so bigger I got. I biggered my factory, I biggered my roads, I biggered the wagons, I biggered the loads, of the Thneeds I shipped out I was shipping them forth from the South, to the East, to the West. To the North, I went right on biggering selling more thneeds. And I biggered my money which everyone needs.” ― Dr Seuss, from the Lorax
A key tenet in what I think is wrong with the world is the obsession with growth. This quote from the Lorax, and pretty much the whole book, gets at this sentiment. Where did we learn that growth is essential? Or that growth is infinite? Or that NOT growing = death?
Was it in economics courses in school? Maybe. That’s what I assume, but I can’t say I remember (I got a D in college economics anyway, so . . . )
Was it from our parents? Our first jobs?
I guess it doesn’t matter, but suffice it to say the concept of growth being a healthy and necessary thing is something many of us learned somewhere, somehow.
But if we look more closely, I think it’s just incorrect. And that’s what this episode is about.
Here’s the original post with links to the audio and YouTube. Please subscribe and peruse the back catalog of my other 50 Episodes and interviews!
This episode is a milestone for several reasons. One, it’s the 50th episode and, for a weekly podcast that means it has been about a year, which is also a not insignificant milestone. For a one-man-band hobby podcaster, that’s a pretty good run. When I started KEW I wasn’t sure where I was going or what I was trying to accomplish over the long term.
And, really, I began asking myself that question around Episode 41 when I announced the ‘state of the podcast’, which was mostly about changing up a few mechanical aspects like social media and shortening the episodes from an hour or more to around 20 minutes.
Prior to that I was on a roll of episodes that reflected my personal growth (Ep. 33: Soul, Ep. 34 Self, Ep. 36: Narcissism and Codependency) and things I have learned in counseling, therapy, and coaching.
The rest of the Episodes tended to address concepts I have thought about for years or longer. I learned a lot by sitting down and talking these concepts through in podcast form.
Then I did an interview series about Curiosity that gave me some experience networking and interviewing but also expounded on a key element of what KEW was all about. And I didn’t realize this when I started.
In fact, I didn’t now much when I started, but I did know I wanted to develop some cohesion across my varied thoughts. I wanted to find a theme in this work that could be organized into some sort of cohesive document, series, or work. I wanted to find the patterns in my ideas and figure out how to put them all together to be presented as an integrated whole.
And Episode 50 seemed like the right time to so.
I have spent the past few weeks figuring out what this integrative device would be and I have found a place to start.
The reason I was compelled to do this podcast/blog/vlog is to address a single theme:
The human condition is a struggle between who we ARE and who we think we SHOULD BE
Though I’m sure this isn’t entirely universal, it’s close enough for me. And it IS me. And I want to share my thoughts about the WHAT, WHY, and HOW of this struggle with the world. Because I bring a unique perspective, and I will argue that UNIQUENESS is supposed to be expressed.
SO, inherent to my argument, basically Episode 50 forward, is me expressing my unique offering to the world about what, why, and how we deal with this struggle. The ‘Are vs. Should’ Problem, if you will.
And I will do this in real time.
I have a rough ‘table of contents’ for two products. One about the What and the Why, and one about the How. Basically, I will develop, in conjunction with weekly podcast topics, this table of contents into two cohesive manuscripts to be released at some later date. The first will explain WHAT *I* think this dilemma IS and WHY *I* think this struggle exists. In the second book I will share HOW *I* think we can deal with or address this struggle.
These works will build upon my SCIENCE knowledge and PERSONAL GROWTH experience. My credentials or credibility, if you will. It’s what I have, after all. And who I am. And that’s all I got.
So Episode 50 explains all that in a bit more detail
In this ‘milestone’ Episode I’ll summarize a new direction for KEW. After 50 Episodes and 10 Curiosity interviews I have compiled, assessed, and researched most of the ideas, concepts, and thoughts swimming around in my head. I’ve discussed these ideas in real-time podcast format and learned a lot in the process. I appreciate you coming along with me on this journey.
Now that I’ve thought through most of what I needed to think through, I’ll spend the next 10-50 episodes narrowing down a more focused topic. I have realized that the message under my curiosity is fairly singular. It comes down to one phenomenon. Something I think may be fairly universal. Something it seems many humans suffer from. And I will start with one question:
Do you struggle between being the person you ARE and the person you think you SHOULD BE?
If you understand this question, or are at least curious about it, the next phase of KEW will be right up your alley. If you don’t understand this question you may be interested to pay attention anyway. If you are someone who ignores one or the other of these two ‘persons’, I may want to interview you.
From this basic question about the human condition I will develop a thesis.
In this episode I moved closer to figuring out the basic set of issues one needs to address when seeking enlightenment, personal growth, self help, or similar human growth efforts. Along with identifying values, identifying beliefs (limiting and otherwise), and getting to know ‘who you are’ I think understand HOW we believe is important.
In recording this episode, I realized that faith and trust are critical terms to understand. Like DOUBT, we define faith and trust along continua of intensity. In the end, I think trust is something we have for individual people, and faith is something we have in concepts or systems. But each of these terms can vary depending on what the faith or trust is IN.
For example, we have FAITH that we will arrive safely at our destination whenever we drive our cars. We TRUST in other drivers that they won’t cross over the centerline and hit us head on. We have a HUGE degree of FAITH in this whole driving SYSTEM to the point where we are more afraid of being eaten by a shark at the beach or being bitten by a snake than we are of being in a car accident – and the statistics and probability suggest quite the opposite.
And what’s more revealing is how much FAITH and TRUST we put in to things without realizing we’re doing it. For example, SCIENCE, which we often consider to be the antithesis of faith or trust, necessarily contains a HUGE element of FAITH in the acceptance of and belief in scientific results. Another example of the strangeness of these concepts is how we conclude that because the sun has risen every day for millennia that it will 100% rise again tomorrow.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this discussion about how we place our personal power into people, ideas, concepts, and systems and how this relates to what we VALUE and BELIEVE.
Here’s the link to the original post with links to podcast audio and YouTube video. Please subscribe to the Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom podcast on your favorite app or my YouTube channel (or both!).
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.
Many people try to define and argue about what a ‘self’ is, or even whether or not we have one. I’m not too worried about getting it right, but I do think it’s worthwhile to ponder the concept of self.
Basically, it’s a ‘Who Am I’ question, or part of that thought process.
Some people spend a lot of time on that question, others don’t understand why anyone would waste their time asking it.
I think it’s neat to wonder. To be curious. And the ‘Who Am I’ question is stimulating.
And more than that, it’s HELPFUL to ponder such questions – because though the questions might not provide definitive definitions, it does provide INSIGHT. And this insight helps me live my life as well as I can. It helps me understand my wants and needs. Knowing ABOUT my SELF is beneficial to me and those around me.
Moreover, I can’t imagine living a life where I would have questions but not be allowed to pursue answers. Or to have curiosity but not have the wherewithal (is that even a word?) to TRY to answer my questions.
So this episode is a bit about exploring what the self is, and not at all about trying to find a definition:)