My name may not be Jon Snow, but ever since I came across this quote in grade school —
— I became less insecure about the questions I was not able to answer for myself. See, even at a young age, as I was raised to be an achiever, I beat myself up mentally for not having the answers to everything — and I was just around first or second grade! I believed, for a long time (at least measured in child perspective), that I was stupid. My less-than-perfect grades (like, 19/20, 9/10, that kind) outshone my outstanding performances, and the adults around the house who always demanded nothing less than perfection from me, did not help.
Until I came across that quote; and I was reminded of it with today’s prompt, and of my choice for Twitter quote to highlight:
You study, study, study, and at the end, you are lucky enough to discover the greatest gift of education: that you know nothing at all.
— EJ Koh (@thisisEJKoh) January 7, 2014
Every school year, every book I read, every show I watch, every song I listen to, every conversation with every person I meet, remind me how much I do not know. I promised to myself that I will never claim to know everything, that I will never dismiss someone’s ideas or talk over them, if they happen to talk about something I already know about. Besides, we might share the same knowledge, but surely, we will have differing perspectives.
I value the counsel of my elders, because they have seen more. It might not be a popular practice, but I also value the voice of those younger than I am. I firmly believe that each person is a unique story and perspective. From the older people, there is the value of experience, and insight from the past. With younger people, there is the value of their differing lens in the present — and believe it or not, they do know things you do not know.
I can only wish to live long enough to read books from every culture, and to meet people from every single walk of life. I wish to be able to meet more people who are unashamed to say that they know nothing, either. For that, I will gladly say that I know nothing, just so I can learn; and in turn, I can share the knowledge and my own perspective and story with others.