“I’ve yet to find a vet or nurse that knows everything… why do we keep believing that person should be us?”
This thought popped into my head this week, so I thought it was the opportune moment to share it with you all in the JHP Newsletter.
Let's take that pressure off.
Think of the smartest person that you know, there will be an area they're not that clued up on. And that's totally normal. It's OK, and funnily enough, you'd forgive them of that I bet. Maybe you're even the person someone thinks of reading this post, not that the inner critic would have us believe that at all.
As kids we were often handed the stories that intelligence is either something we do or don't have.
We were praised for it, I know I certainly was.
It made us feel good for being clever or being smart. Maybe we were rewarded for good grades on parents' evenings.
Not knowing the answer looked pretty scary as it might make people change their decision on whether we are intelligent or not. That made failing look like something to avoid. If we suddenly weren’t smart, who were we and where did our value lie? Maybe it even still leads us to procrastinate now as we listen to those stories between our ears that we never chose; we know that one of the biggest causes of procrastination is fear. Fear of failure, fear of judgement, fear of not knowing what to do. Familiar?
When we say it out loud, it seems pretty outrageous, right?
Intelligence isn't black and white. It's not something you do or don't have. Not knowing one thing doesn't take away from what you do. (And as an extra point, you'd still be valuable to your core, even if you knew diddly squat, just saying. Now there's something the world never tells us.).
Well, here's your reminder that you will never know everything. Keep learning, keep enjoying, but see where you can remove some pressure. Let’s choose to slowly let the grip those old beliefs from our childhood have upon us loosen. When those thoughts pop in of the pressure to know everything, remember this post.
Also let's be aware how much pressure others put themselves under and not shame anyone else for not knowing an answer. There’s nothing to stop us asking someone to go and find out, but resist any temptations of “I can’t believe you didn’t know that”, because it might leave your lips for a minute, but it might play on their mind for hours. Villwock wrote a paper on Imposter Syndrome in medical students in 2016, and their conclusion was to call to end shame based learning as a way to reduce rates of IS.
Not just a nice idea, it’s s-c-i-e-n-c-e. How much easier will it be to grow when we see there's always more to learn, and we can have fun along the way? It might feel weird to say it because it's not what we're used to, but give it a try.