I have a six years old office chair. It works well, except its headrest always touches my shoulder blade. Anyone who had an online meeting with me probably saw me shrugging my shoulder multiple times to raise the headrest. I tried to fix it on my own, but nothing seemed to work. So I just concluded that I must be too tall for the chair and secretly hated this chair.
But recently, it began to bother me so much that I googled this issue for the first time. It dawned on me that I wasn’t the only one having the problem. And someone already suggested a solution in 2017 for the same model I had. It only required 10 minutes of disassembly, changing one plastic piece’s orientation, then assembling it again. For the first time in 6 years, I sat down, and the headrest didn’t touch my shoulder! I was exhilarated. Due to this fix, I no longer hate this chair. I could not help but to ask, “why didn’t I google this issue earlier?” I felt relieved but at the same time regretful.
After thinking about it, I realized I didn’t google the issue because I assumed I knew the problem: “I am too tall for this chair.” We often suffer our problems longer than necessary because we think we know what the problem is. Whether that is relational, financial, spiritual or physical issues, the main reason we fail to make progress is often our “unqualified” assumptions.
So I decided to get in the habit of asking. I used to think I knew everything when I was in my 20s. After reading one book, I was often convinced that I mastered the topic. In my 30s, I think I am becoming more cautious because life reveals plenty of what you don’t know. But, when you accept that you don’t know as much you think, you become free from trying to prove that you know and let you enjoy learning new things. It is not difficult to know that much of our knowledge has loose-ends that need to be tied up by someone else if we are honest. The original meaning of “disciple” is a “learner.” Living as a disciple of Jesus is to remain as a learner, and learners course-correct quickly, avoiding unnecessary suffering.