left Xtraordinary Living At Its Best: The cost of ignorance

Saturday, March 10, 2007

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The cost of ignorance

As I was mounting my bike I noticed that I had a flat tire. On an earlier post I wrote about the lesson I learned from getting my first flat on the road. Having learned that lesson, I was ready to embark on this adventure. You see, I'm not the most mechanical person and changing a flat tire IS an adventure.

After a good number of tries, I finally was able to figure out what I needed to do, had the new tube in place and was ready to pump air into it. Unfortunately no matter how much air I was pumping in, it was all going out. I figured that I had either done something wrong or else I had a defective tube. It was time to go to the bike shop!

At the bike shop, as I handed my bike to the attendant and was explaining that this was my first attempt at changing a flat tire he asked me: "did you find what had punctured the first tube before you installed the spare?" I responded that it never occurred to me to do this. He then said that if I didn't do this, there was a good chance that the same thing would happen to the next tube.

Sure enough that turned out to be the problem. There was a piece of glass inside the tire that had punctured the 1st tube. In my ignorance, I hadn't removed the glass before installing the second tube, once I pumped air into it, the new tube came in contact with the glass and also got punctured. Of course this was also validation of my "I'm not a mechanical person" belief!

As I reflected on this episode, I remembered a quote by Derek Bok a former president of Harvard University:“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”. Yes gaining experience and education is often costly, but it sure beats the alternative.

Besides getting educated to prevent something like this from happening again, I also need to continue working on my belief that I'm not mechanical. Until I do, no amount of education will help me. This is a key ingredient that people often miss - the fact that our beliefs prevent us from making changes even when we have the necessary knowledge and/or information to do so.

In my case, I can start re-framing my "I'm not mechanical" belief with a new one that goes something like this: "I'm not very mechanical but I'm learning how to change that" This new belief opens up possibilities that are not available with the old one.

Learning how to change our beliefs will allow us to make better use of the education we receive.

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