The wizard and the dragon are seated across from each other. The dragon is in therapy. It cannot fly and passionately wants to learn. The wizard is keen to help. He thinks hard, hard enough to break into a sweat. He tries flapping his arms, while the dragon remains sceptical. Eventually, the wizard gives up. He cannot help the dragon.

''Once upon a time, there was a wise man, who knew how stupid he also was.''

The notion of wisdom

An important condition for becoming more knowledgeable is that we dare embrace and expose our ignorance. If we do not, we risk remaining stupid in the areas where we conceal our ignorance. A wise person knows that he or she does not know everything – and still, it takes wisdom and high self-esteem to dare to expose one’s ignorance. Many knowledgeable people are high-performing and confident without necessarily having high self-esteem.

Table of Content

Most of us are inclined to do and cultivate what we do well, rather than voluntarily venturing outside our comfort zone. The fact that most of us are loved for what we do rather than for who we are, further supports our inclination to do what we do well. That saves us from jeopardizing our lovability. However, learning and receiving constructive, negative feedback become much harder when the critique directly challenges our basis for receiving love. Unfortunately, we tend to tune out positive feedback when our self-esteem is low. An imbalance between our levels of self-esteem and confidence keeps us trapped in habitual learning patterns and is not conducive to learning through positive or negative feedback.


The dragon in the illustration so wants to learn to fly, and the wizard so wants to help the dragon, but sadly, the challenge exceeds the wizard’s skills. The wizard sees, understands and tries his best, even going so far as to begin flapping his arms as the puzzled dragon looks on. Sometimes our desire to help quite obviously exceeds our skills – and regardless how hard we try we may only end up being and looking ridiculous. Nevertheless, we have to find the courage to go out on a limb and invest ourselves as much as possible, because sometimes, we pull off the seemingly impossible. When we take a risk and go all in, we sometimes find a potential creative platform for further development and learning. In the best cases, the boundaries of the possible are shifted, and new learning happens.

To dare embrace ignorance, even cultivating it by asking seemingly stupid questions or challenging our surroundings by daring to risk ridicule, makes us all more knowledgeable. About ourselves and about each other.

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