3rd August 2005, it was the first time I ever visited a Barista in my life. Though the place no longer exists but the memories still do. My friend and I, unknowingly, sat on a seat of a regular customer, who upon his arrival politely requested us to vacate and we did. We were really surprised because very few people used to visit barista those days and being a regular was like a big thing and thus arouse our interest in the man and we decided to talk to him. We both went up to him and asked, “Excuse me Sir, we would like to talk to you”. That middle aged man looked up to us, 2 shabbily dressed teenagers, in our eyes and waited for more than 30 seconds before he said “yes”. The conversation that followed turned out to be more than two hours long and taught me some really great lessons, which I still remember and follow.
During our conversation He said,” Never say you know till you don’t know 100% of it, what if you know 99% and the other person really wanted to know something from that 1%” and then he asked, “Is there anything you know 100%?”
I replied “Yes” (Of course without thinking)
Before reading ahead I would like everyone to think of one thing which they “believe” that they know 100%.
My answer was,” I know counting” and he simply asked me,” Do you know every name which is used to refer 10^10 to 10^100 and even beyond”. Well I didn’t and I realised that I don’t know counting well enough. Many of you might think “We know English or Hindi or German alphabet”. But do you actually know them? “Do you know the name of the small dot on top of “i and j” or Do you know the evolution of alphabet or How did we end up on 26 alphabet in English? Or many other questions related to them…”
My instant reaction to him was,” In that case I will always say “NO”” and then he said,” What if he wanted to know something which you already know? ”
And the he said “Always say “Yes, I know a bit, But not completely””
This piece of thought still stays with me and haunts me every time I think I know something completely. Initially it was really tough to deal with it because it could simply demoralise me, but eventually I realised that my hunger to read and know more has increased. For me nothing was absolute any more, I always wanted to know more. This thought helped me realise that the saying “Always keep your cup empty “has a very deep meaning. The acceptance of the fact that I don’t know everything made me open to the possibility that the other person might have some logic behind whatever He or She is saying. It has helped me prepare better for all the counters and possibilities to a given situation because now I think not only from one angle but also from other infinite possibilities. It has also helped me to “LISTEN more than just HEAR”. Well but that doesn’t mean that what every information I get is correct or logical. “How to isolate the good from the bad”, this is something that I have learnt and you all will have to figure out yourself.
This simple change from “YES” or “NO” to “YES BUT” can actually help you tackle a lot of problems and probably save you from some embarrassment.
A wise man named Vasudeva once said “The sign of intelligence is that you are always wondering. Idiots are always dead sure about every damn thing”
PS : Thank You Mallika for the last quotation.