We all do and say some pretty dumb things sometimes, myself included. This could potentially be something beautiful that ties us together into one big ball of equality and understanding. But what happens instead? We make fun of each other. We get together and point out other people’s weaknesses because we are desperately hoping that nobody will notice our own.
While it’s important to have a healthy sense of humour about ourselves, being ridiculed is an unpleasant feeling that we internalize. Meaning that making a silly mistake could result in never trying or asking about something again. I know I can only handle being laughed at so many times before I end up feeling paralyzed with the fear of doing something stupid.
I am convinced that I am not alone in this feeling. There have to be millions of fully functioning intelligent adults going about their day that have missed out on very basic information because they were made fun of at some point in their life.
I, for example, always wondered what the scan button did on the radio. I was afraid to touch it and I knew it would be an incredibly dumb question to ask. So I have lived for twenty nine years never knowing that I could easily scan through the available channels with one touch of a button. Imagine that… the scan button scans. I only learned this recently when I got the courage to ask a friend. I got a tiny laugh but I felt better satisfying my curiosity.
I once knew a very smart man who thought that the metabolism was an organ in our body. As in, “ouch my metabolism is sore”. Naturally, you’re going to laugh at this, but this just means that he was too embarrassed to admit that he didn’t know, so he pretended – something that we do far too often. Years of misunderstanding could have been easily prevented.
There was a German guy that I met while I was in Australia who thought that the word fart was pronounced fort. A small part of me wanted to let him continue saying that he was forting because it was adorable. Instead I politely corrected him and he added a new word to his English vocabulary.
My sister-in-law’s first language is French and she has little language mishaps all the time. Sometimes it’s as small as ordering jam from the deli. Then sometimes, while speaking to her decorator, she might accidentally say to fuckus instead of focus. There was the time that she mispronounced Toyota in front of a lecture hall for a Toyota presentation. Also, she told the lecture hall that there is no difference between Chinese and Japanese. She might make little blunders, but she learns something new every day because she is fearless.
I have attempted to be just as fearless recently (against every instinct in my body) and I’ve found that I have learned many new words because of it. If somebody uses a word that I do not understand, all I do is tell them I don’t know what that word means. Yes, it is embarrassing. Also, it can catch that person off guard. You may even find that they’re not entirely sure what the word means either. Interesting.
The point is we all make mistakes and, seeing as nobody knows everything there is to know, we are all students of life. So take it easy on each other. Embrace the fact that we all have dumb moments. Sometimes the best way to learn is to really mess it up a few times first. Or if you’re feeling brave, ask that really dumb question that you have always wondered. Trust me, it feels great to finally get it out. 🙂