In my pursuit to find all the answers to my questions; which are never ending, I’m slowly realizing that some answers will never come and it’s better to just accept what is and move forward, or perhaps I’m just not ready and in time they will either come or they won’t. I’m the most curious person I know, maybe it’s the monkey in me? I was never embarrassed or ashamed to ask questions, until I was in a classroom environment or with a crowd of people who I believed knew more then I did. I began building a complex when others pointed out how stupid I was to ask such questions and why on earth I had not learnt the obvious sooner. That’s when the building blocks of lies began….
In my desperation to “Fit In” I fabricated the truth. After being ridiculed, mocked and laughed at, shame and guilt grew within me, and those I knew all to well! It was not until my early twenty’s when I was struggling to pass my pilot exams that I discovered, with the help of a professor at a university, I was dyslectic. I hated school, because for the most part teachers lost patience with me – questions like…”How can you not understand this? What’s wrong with you?”, “I don’t have time for this, we’ve got to move on so try to keep up”. I cheated, lied and faked my way for 12 years, and it took me another year to reach graduation.
Ironically, it was not until I achieved my Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence and started teaching that I discovered I was 2 credits short of graduating. A few phone calls later and faxing some documents to the proper authorities I received my diploma 21 years later! Failure made my more of a success, then succeeding ever did. I had found my purpose in aviation early on, and that passion fuelled my determination to ask questions again despite the embarrassment and shame. I didn’t care anymore if I looked stupid – I chose embarrassment over dead and stupid!
Overtime, many failures and countless teachers, I began to realize that my fellow students and instructors had the same questions I did; and were glad I asked, because they were too embarrassed to ask themselves. I wanted to know the reason behind the answer, memorizing the question and specific answers got me no where. When I was finally taught how to grasp the concept, only then did I understand that no matter how the question was presented, the knowledge I gained usually led to the correct answer.
People that shame us for asking questions, no matter what they are is what you call “Agnostic”; Latin for “ag”-without, “nostic”-knowledge”. I’ve allowed my pride and ego to get the best of me at times, defending my stupidity which fed my insanity and deniability. I’ve been practicing humility everyday now for 5 years, 10 months and 3 days – which has lead me to the motto I’ve now adopted…”The only thing I know is that I know nothing at all”, and that my friends has opened a whole new world for me, one which I was closed off to for far too long. Sure…I want to know everything about everything, people come to me with questions and of course I want to have all the answers, or at least think I do!
Learning and becoming a teacher myself taught me a lot. When I started my own business and graduated to the position of “Chief Flight Instructor”, right from the beginning I encouraged my students to ask questions. When I was presented with a questions I didn’t have the answers for, my automatic reaction was panic mixed with a sprinkle of humility – admitting I did not know opened up new possibilities for me to expand my knowledge and understanding on both sides. I taught many students, and by remaining honest, open-minded and willing, they in turn taught me as well, it’s not always a one-way street.
Not knowing often led me down a path I never imagined I’d take, it introduced me to some very special people, who in turn passed their wisdom onto me. Experience is the best teacher of all!! Our life span is not long enough to make all the mistakes ourselves. I’m 47 years into this journey, I’ve spent the majority of them living in fear of asking the wrong questions and making up bullshit answers I had no business passing on.
During my journey in sobriety I’ve learnt more about myself and the would around me then I ever imagined possible. I’ve transitioned from being “The Great Pretender” to a much more mature and humble person by choosing to embrace my curiosity rather then being ashamed of it. As I continue to search for more knowledge I still require perspective; more often there are different answers to one simple question. When I find myself asking questions that I can not find the answer to, I lean into my faith and ask my higher power for help. I place it on a shelf and exercise trust that more will be revealed as the years pass by.
Some of the best advice was given to me by my mother…”There’s no harm in asking!” Stay Curious my friends!