The curse of knowledge and the willingness to change

by MPA12 Nov 2014
By David Lykken
Special to MPA

As leaders in the mortgage industry, we typically think of knowledge as a good thing. We keep up on the current news -- so that we can understand the political and economic climate in which we are operating. We keep pace with the current technology, so that we can learn the best tools to help us do our jobs better and faster. We thrive on learning the latest information that will give us the cutting edge. But can knowledge ever be a bad thing? Yes, I think it can.

In his book In a Pit with a Lion On a Snowy Day, author Mark Batterson draws an interesting illustration from the Bible. In the Gospel of John, there is a story about a man who had been crippled for 38 years. At the time, people believed that a certain body of water -- the pool of Bethesda -- had magical qualities. At a certain time, when the water was stirred, the first person to the pool would be healed of his or her infirmities. This crippled man, however, could not reach the pool because he had no one to help him into it.

When the crippled man appeals to Jesus, he says, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me." In Batterson's words, "This man made an assumption that may have cost him thirty-eight years. He had only one category for healing." What did Jesus tell the man? Simply to pick up his mat and walk. The man never needed the pool in the first place.

Here's the point: sometimes knowledge holds us back, because we think we know more than we really do. The curse of knowledge is the unwillingness to change our minds when we encounter new information. If we think we already know, we won't ever bother trying to learn. So, while you're adding to your knowledge base, be sure to keep an open mind. You never know when you might just need to look at something in a new way.


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