Knowing What You Don’t Know
In times past there was a belief known as the “doctrine of signatures”. The idea behind this misguided system was that God left signs in the natural world as clues to medicine.
For instance, if a person had a yellowing of the skin due to jaundice, medieval doctors would prescribe yellow lichen as treatment. If someone had an infection in their liver they were given liverwort, a small plant that resembles the organ.
It was also popularly believed that illness was caused by bad blood. Thus blood was drained from the sick, a treatment known as bloodletting. (You could tell which doctors performed this procedure because they had a red and white striped pole displayed outside their business. It is believed that President Washington died from these very same treatments.)
These anecdotes from history serve as examples of how much damage can be caused by ignorance. In reality it is the things we don’t know that we don’t know that can be the most detrimental. That is why being teachable is so important.
Author Og Mandino stated, “Life is a game. Precious, holy, and beautiful, but it’s a game. You must know the rules.”
The challenge is that many people never get taught the rules about how to handle adversity, how to develop authentic character, how to have a healthy relationship to money, how to handle stress, or how to uncover a deeper purpose.
Mandino talks about a duck that took up residence in his family’s backyard. Somehow imprinting upon them, it stayed for months, just quacking and eating their grass. They named him Disco. However, Disco never seemed satisfied; he just quacked in frustration day in and day out. As Mandino shared, Disco never knew he could fly and that he could have left anytime he wanted to.
Martin Luther famously said there were only two days on his calendar, “today” and “that DAY.” “That day” referred to the moment he would stand before God and give an account of his life, while “today” referred to living in the moment and making the right choices in the here and now.
Jim Rohn shared that less than 5% of American adults have a library card. While vast treasures of wisdom and knowledge are readily available, many ignore it and blindly move moment to moment with little to no direction. (As Charles Jones put it, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”)
So consider, if life is a game, do you know the rules? If not, what are you going to do about it? Your dreams await you. There really are only two days on the calendar; don’t reach “that day” without ever realizing you could have flown all along.