To go up, we have to give up.
Whenever we want to gain something we have to give something up. If we want to buy something we have to give up some money, if we want to earn some money we have to give up some time and probably some effort. Everything has its price and it is a logical extension of that that says we have to be prepared to sacrifice something to get something.
That is relatively easy when we have nothing much. When we first set out we readily give up poverty for wealth, boredom for endeavour, ignorance for knowledge. It is as we get a little older that things get more difficult and a lot less obvious.
Take a habit, like biting your nails or smoking. It would appear a fairly simple trade, to give up a bad habit, for a better one, but it rarely is.
It is very difficult to know or to understand the very complex set of benefits even a bad habit might give us, and therefore the trade is not made. Somewhere below our level of consciousness we are not prepared to give up whatever it is that we are getting from that particular state, and when the resistance to change is too great, change just doesn’t take place.
So what about our self-development. Why might people be resistant to that? Well thinking about it, once someone has knowledge one of the things they might lose is a whole raft of excuses. If I don’t know, no one can blame me if I can’t do it. Once I do know, then that excuse is gone and others have a right to expect more of me and with that comes responsibility, and with that comes fear.
They say with knowledge comes power, and because power carries responsibilities and expectations it also brings with it a potential for failure. They also say ignorance is bliss, when we are truly ignorant there are no expectations of us. We have an excuse.
So any form of learning is an act of bravery, because we are compelled to let go of the excuses we may well have hidden behind. When we gain knowledge we give up the safety and the excuse of not knowing.
So are we prepared to learn and to develop? Are we prepared to give up that place of comfort for the discomfort of more knowledge and greater ability?
When Nelson Mandela asked “Who Am I to Be Brilliant” at his inauguration, quoting the poet Marianne Williamson and said “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us” he was right in so many ways.