Being Right And Being Honest

It takes time to learn. For some things, this can be measured in minutes. For others, it’s measured in decades. When we become enamoured with something, we often want to shorten the learning time so we can get to the point where we’re respected for knowing it, where we’re the celebrated “expert”. So the temptation is to pretend we’re there before we are, and to inflate or fake our knowledge, experience and credentials. No one will find out, right?

In my world, I could make an unknown plant fit the description of another in a field guide, allowing me to look like the expert. I could identify an animal track or scat as belonging to a certain animal, even if the evidence shows it belongs to another animal. I could make up a bunch of stuff about my background to make me fit the part more ( raised by wolves?). And by using persuasive language, I could make those around me believe that I’m right or telling the truth. But I don’t.

It’s an ego-trap to believe that you always have to have the answer. It’s much better and more honest to be comfortable saying you don’t know.

This isn’t just for outdoor endeavors. It could be claiming to know how to edit software code, or operate a piece of machinery. I imagine that there are instances of it in all human endeavors, because ultimately it’s about the human ego, not endeavors.

It’s OK to not know, and to not have all the answers. No one does.

Educational Philosophy

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Greg Averill

    Amen….your past couple posts about education and teaching have gotten me fired up, in a good way. I totally agree. When your honest as an educator, it makes what you do know more credible.

  • Thanks Greg. That’s a great point that in teaching, whether academic, outdoor or other, honesty = credibility.

  • David Willis

    Absolutely, and perhaps offering to find out too! … enjoying your blog.
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