We live in a world that glorifies the pursuit of knowledge. The more knowledge we gain, the more our perceived self-worth increases. But this noble pursuit can also turn dangerous.
When an anxious mind decides that the solution to uncertainty is to seek out more knowledge, then we fall into the trap of trying to control everything.
There is a shadow side to the quest for knowledge. The ego uses knowledge to avoid things that it fears — Teal Swan.
There are two major truths that most people forget once they start relying too much on intellect over intuition:
1. Knowledge cannot erase the facts of life
The only thing we can be certain of in life is change. None of us knows where we will end up, and this is a terrifying truth to remember. So for a lot of us, we respond to this fear the way that the world has taught us: to rely on knowledge and intellect to try and regain a feeling of control amidst all the chaos.
Teal Swan calls knowledge “the worrier’s best friend”. Because when you feel unsure about your own worth, it can feel good to know more than other people, to be more skilled, to have more degrees, to be better trained, to have a more prestigious job title.
But none of that changes the fundamental truth of life. Change is happening everywhere, at every time. And with change comes uncertainty and self-doubt. These feelings don’t go away. We just bury them under degrees we never really wanted in the first place, books gathering dust on the shelf, and training and certificates that don’t really add much value to our lives. It makes us feel like we’re at least moving forward; like we’re doing something to guarantee our place in life.
This incessant pursuit of academic knowledge becomes a way to feel productive, even though we might not be necessarily living life to our highest potential. Feeling lost in life? Well, just go back to school and spend more money on something you might not even need. Scared to start your business? Pay for expensive training that promise to make you successful.
Knowledge becomes like a blanket that we pull over our heads at night — it doesn’t chase away the darkness, but it lets us create an illusion of safety.
2. The pursuit of knowledge can limit your growth
Here’s the plain truth: you’re always going to be nervous when you’re doing something new. You exist in two states: in your comfort zone or outside your comfort zone. And when you step beyond your bubble, you can expect that the fear will be there. It’s how you respond to the fear that matters.
Most of us work ourselves up into a frenzy. You rush to become an expert overnight, believing you need to know everything before you can even open your mouth. But here’s what happens when you chase the feeling of “I’m finally good enough. I know enough now. I can walk into a room with my head held high”:
You become rigid. You’re hard on yourself. You beat yourself down for any tiny mistake. One bad day feels like it’s messed up your entire plan. You sacrifice your health and relationships because you need this success, and you need it now. Your self-worth depends on it.
This desperate struggle is not sustainable in the long run. The path to achieving your goals is a long one, and being rigid will only burn you out and make you lose pleasure in the journey.
An alternative path
At its core, the desperation you feel is just a way of gaining some control over your future. You want to feel like you know what’s going to happen to you. Not only that, you want to feel that you’re in control of what happens. This will never be true. At the end of the day, none of us can honestly say we know what will happen to us.
But that doesn’t have to be a source of extreme anxiety. I had a conversation with Spirit the other day where I was panicking because I couldn’t see my future clearly, and it felt like all my plans were confused.
Spirit said to me, “Look at the course of your life. Look at every time you’ve felt like you took the wrong path. It has always led you to where you needed to be, even if you couldn’t see it in the moment. This isn’t any different. What looks like a crisis to your human eyes isn’t a big deal when you learn how to step back and look at the bigger picture.”
There really is no need to rush. There’s no need to try and be the expert on day one. You don’t need to be an authority in your field in order to have value to contribute.
Stop trying to control the future. There are plenty of people who were once the best, and then life happened and they had to start over. Who says that you wouldn’t end up being one of these people? Who says all that knowledge and training and experience will automatically equal peace of mind? What about all the people who were at the height of their careers and were still deeply unhappy? Who says that wouldn’t happen to you as well?
You cannot control your future, but you can show up as your best in every situation. And that starts with making peace with the uncertainty that you feel every day. Once you can do that, once you can learn to hold space in your heart for confusion, then you can give yourself permission to not know. You give yourself room to step out of your comfort zone and experiment, without the fear of failure holding you hostage.
I hope you enjoyed this Oracle card reading. The message was inspired by Card #20 from The Blindspot Oracle Deck by Teal Swan, titled “You Don’t Know but You Think You Know”.