One of the distinctions I have never heard anywhere else is this “Majoring in minors” 1 distinction. It’s from the 67 steps.
It is about choosing to invest time, energy, money into something that is not going to return a big benefit.
If we look at any area of life, the biggest difference between astute people and the rest is how they invest their time, energy, and money.
Obviously, if you fritter away your time, energy, and money on frivolous or low-benefit activities, your life will be below what it could be.
This is, by the way, the norm. 98% of people belong to the non-astute group. They live a life of quiet desperation. They never get what they want.
Why on earth would they do that? Are they stupid?
Not necessarily. Some of them are brainy. What is lacking in all of them is courage and humility.
The opposite of humility is arrogance. Arrogance is delusional. It is when you think yourself either the only person who is smart, or smarter than other people.
In one of Tai’s (67 steps) he tells about an incident when he was with a group of brilliant businessmen, and instead of asking questions he was yakking away.
Humility is the measure of how willing you are to learn. How willing you are to allow another to be smarter than you.
Without humility you can’t grow, without humility you are left to your knowledge. And your knowledge is both puny and inaccurate… mostly.
The other capacity that is needed to allow someone to guide you so you can invest your energy into something that will be worth it, is courage.
About 30 years ago I participated in a year long training program. One topic it dealt with is making you trainable. It said: “in order to be trainable, you need to declare yourself incompetent in the topic of the training…” that way you empty your vessel, so it can accept knowledge from someone else.
It’s counter-intuitive. It requires you to have the courage to say: Teach me. I know nothing. And be able to restrain yourself to be a responsive vessel. To not argue. To not know better. To stay open.
It takes courage, and it takes humility.
If you don’t have either, you won’t learn.
What boggles my mind is that you can hang around my work for years, and never consider developing those capacities to be able to benefit. Benefit from my knowledge, my coaching, whatever I can give you.
I have people like that… nothing got better for them. They read every article, but they don’t learn.
Why? Because they know better. They already know everything there is to know. No humility. None.
They are the ones that may call me arrogant. It takes one to know one… goes the saying, and in this case it’s a perfect fit.
True to form: 98% of the people who ask for their starting point measurements lack the capacities to be trainable.
How do you know if you are?
The number one sign of someone with humility, in my experience, is asking questions. How questions, mostly. And what questions.
Most people have no questions. Not when they are alone, not when they are with me. No questions.
Questions show more than humility… they show curiosity.
The opposite of curiosity is dull…
You can be a colorful person living a dull life.
One of my students definitely appeared to be dull. But in our What gives you juice? session, when we dug what she liked to do when he was a kid, he told me that he used to create fantasy scenarios, like fantasy football… I have no idea what that is… but I decided to test if it was really so… It was hard to believe, honestly.
So I assigned him to make a list of 10 ideas a day… following the “Become an idea machine” book. And he is really brilliant at it. He is also becoming a lot less dull.
I haven’t done his starting point measurements, but I could bet that his numbers have started to rise.
I have an area of life where I am stuck. Writing press releases… So I decided to do the 10 ideas a day process on different aspects of press releases, so I can open up and become trainable.
Honestly, past the third idea, I sweat. Maybe it will get easier, maybe it won’t.
But I have made myself a promise to do it… it is now my spiritual practice to grow.
- There is a very interesting article I just read while I was looking for some picture for this article. It brings up an area of life where people major in minors: religion. I am quoting it here fore you, the bible part:
Why Do We Major in the Minors?
from R.C. Sproul on https://www.ligonier.org/blog/why-major-minors/
The Pharisees distorted the emphasis of biblical righteousness to suit their own behavioral patterns of self-justification. Jesus frequently confronted the Pharisees on this point. Jesus said to them, “You tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness” (Matt. 23:23a). On numerous occasions, Jesus acknowledged that the Pharisees scrupulously obeyed some points of the law. They paid their tithes, they read their Scriptures, they did a host of things the law required-and Jesus commended them for their actions, saying, “These you ought to have done” (Matt. 23:23b). However, it was the emphasis that was out of kilter. They scrupulously tithed, but in doing so they used their obedience to this lesser matter as a cloak to cover up their refusal to obey the weightier matters of justice and mercy. That distortion occurs today.