Charles Starrett


Blog, links, and…

Culture consultant & social tech teacher/facilitator at SoulCo & Northeastern University. He/Him. Dad, Harvard and NEC alum, visual thinker, dabbler in ukulele, electronic music, 한국어, and TTRPGs.


Looking in the wrong place

There’s a story about a man who was on his hands and knees on the sidewalk one night. A neighbor happened to be passing by and asked him what he was doing.

“Why are you crawling around on the sidewalk?” “I lost my keys!” “That’s terrible! So you remember dropping them around here?” “No. I think I dropped them back there near the door to my building.” “So why aren’t you looking for them back there?” “I can’t see back there because it’s dark. But there’s a streetlight here so at least I can see.”

No matter what age we are, we are full of experience, knowledge, and wisdom. Even if we feel we’ve lost our way, we have everything we need to know our next step forward. The problem is that even if “the answer is inside us” as self-help authors like to say, we don’t know how to find that answer.

So we look for the answer outside of us, learning from courses, books, experts, workshops… We consume more-and-more content, certain that somewhere out under the streetlight we’ll find the answer we’re looking for.

The one place we’re not looking is in ourselves, because it seems too dark. Because in school we were taught how to consume knowledge, not how to navigate the way into our own stores of experience, knowledge, and wisdom. We were taught how to search for answers in libraries and the internet, rather than in our own personalized knowledge base that we already have, that we’ve been building for our entire lives, and that is uniquely suited to answer our own questions. We were taught to trust teachers and thought leaders, and not to trust ourselves.

Like the man in the story, we often look for answers in all the wrong places. We’ll find the answers we need much faster when we learn how to see the answers where they are.

27 August 2022

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