Hey Doc, What Do You Know!

A man walked into a psychiatrist’s office, head held high he sat on the chair across from the doctor and crossed his legs.
 “You see doctor; my family emotionally blackmailed me into coming to see you” he began
“Oh really” the doctor said hiding a smile
“Yes, they don’t understand that I don’t need you, I’m already dead you see”  
The doctor peered at his chest intently for a few minutes as if searching for his soul, then he asked in that all knowing doctor’s voice.
“Sir, do dead men bleed?”
The man chuckled sarcastically, amused by the silly question, but having made up his mind to be cooperative during the session, answered
“Of course not doc, everyone knows dead men don’t bleed”
The psychiatrist pulled out a needle from his drawer, stuck it in the man’s hand and pulled it out in one swift motion. The man yelped and jumped to his feet, at the sight of the blood trickling from his hand; his face was ashen drained of blood.
“What do you know Doc. Dead men do bleed after all”.
As hilarious as we may consider the dialogue to be, we all do exhibit that psychiatric imbalance one way or another and in varying degrees. I was having a discussion with my manager this morning, more like trying to calm her down, while she ranted about a friend of hers who in her words was “stuck-up and ignorant”. She had been putting a lot of effort into trying to help her friend who wants to be a writer to develop her skill. The only challenge is that this friend is a student who thinks to know more than the teacher. Not only would the friend refuse to take any kind of correction, she had the unholy habit of destructively criticising any other written work that she comes across. When subtly confronted with the clumsiness of her own work, she would smile condescendingly and say something like “you just don’t get the style of my work” or something profound like “you need to be a deep thinker to get me”.
Our experiences whether of ourselves or our society form our impression and convictions. These experiences come in different forms; words, actions, teachings, norms and customs. Once we buy into an idea, we allow it determine what we consider ‘truth’ to be. The question whether the thing is true in itself is another matter altogether. Without opening the Pandora box of ‘faith and fact’ or ‘myths and real’, let me say that facts are not meant to negate faith, but actually give reason to what we believe. Practically speaking, we are meant to review the things we believe; both about ourselves and our environment from time to time, with the question “have I received any new information that would warrant me to modify my convictions?”
We may have certain convictions about ourselves that are based on false information or outdated ones. People define us by what they temporarily perceive (most of the time blatantly wrong), or what they hear about us (even more prejudiced), but we permanently hold unto that definition as who we are. That you were considered academically challenged in grade two does not mean that it would still define you in year two at the university. Your academic endeavours may have made that assessment obsolete. Therefore, rather than approach your books with the mind-set that “I am what I make of myself”, you approach it with “I am academically challenged” and receive a self-fulfilling prophesy.   On the flip side, because you had a good day and someone temporarily perceived you as a genius don’t mean you should hold such belief permanently in spite of your resounding failures over time (which is what I believe happened to my manager’s friend). We are supposed to keep assessing our progress in relation to a goal before us and a starting point behind us.   
          I have realised that one of the greatest challenge of the progressive person is unlearning all the wrong things we have believed about ourselves, while the demise of the narrow minded is in believing that as it was in the beginning so it is now and so shall it ever be life without end.  Every day we receive new information that challenges what we thought we knew about ourselves and make adequate changes to accommodate new information. There is this saying “listen to understand not just to reply” and Solomon a long time ago said that “a rebellious man does not care about the facts, all he wants to do is yell” proverbs 18:2. If we choose to either simply defend our own point of view (POV) without listening to the merits of the fact before us or decide that the facts are wrong ab initio then we will never improve. We will never learn, we will never become what we have the potential to be.  

Image courtesy of/bandrat/FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Kanayo Aniegboka

Kani is a Nigerian born and based minister, public speaker, entrepreneur and life coach. His keen and unique perspective to life issues makes him a refreshing voice to listen to. He currently serves as the Executive Coordinator of House on the Rock - Word House and sits on the board of a number of companies.

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