When John C. Maxwell said that ‘The greatest enemy of learning is knowing’. I had a hard time believing him. And that is me knowing.


When John C. Maxwell said that ‘The greatest enemy of learning is knowing’. I had a hard time believing him. And that is me knowing.

To be honest, at first, I didn’t get that line. I internally argue with myself,  ‘May natutunan ka so paanong hindi mo alam?’ (You already learned something so how can you not know?)

Looking back now, I don't know what happened to me for not grasping the idea sooner, probably my lack of common sense was kicking in.

I wish there were other reasons or excuses that I can give, or anything just to not admit that maybe I was just really not learning.

I’m an anxious person so I cannot grasp the idea of not figuring that line, it frustrates me. My logic at that time was you already know it so you probably already learned it. Learning and knowing are synonymous, and it’s not until I really ‘listen’ did I finally understand how I wasn’t learning.

John is one of the best leadership speakers that there is, and I’ve been following him online and been listening to his podcast as background music when I do my laundry or other chores. Hopefully, I get to see him talk live in the future.

Anyway, back to that line. I’m not sure how long before I figured it out but when I did I just laughed at how slow I was for not getting it. And now, I agree when John said that ‘The greatest enemy of learning is knowing.’

I thought I knew better, and that’s what stops people from learning.

For me, I feel that that line didn’t register to me because I wanted to believe that I am learning because I know things. That the things that we know are enough for us to learn a thing. I was in denial because somehow it made me feel like I was again at the receiving end of another criticism, like how the quote ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ affected me negatively in the past.

I get reminded by John C. Maxwell’s line whenever we have workshops for my work as a financial advisor. Most of the time they’ll remind the attendees to participate as if they don’t know anything. Leave the prior learnings behind so you can acquire more learnings from the workshop. You have to pour your glass so you can fill it with new learnings.

And I guess with the rampant spread of fake news that contributes to people believing lies after lies, we have to digest this line even more. Sometimes we have prior knowledge about something but up until what extent of truthfulness do we know?

Are we all gonna be too proud to accept that we might be wrong and that new information might not be valid because there are other sides of a story, and some sides are not always the truth, we were just so focused on facing that side we forgot to see and check the other sides.

The greatest enemy of learning is knowing.

Our greatest enemy is knowing we have enough knowledge, enough experiences, and so we invalidate other knowledge to keep our stand valid. Our will to be right and validated urges us to reject new knowledge-  prohibiting us from learning.

Until we learn and accept how flawed and how we can always have room for improvement, reaching our full potential while learning will never be achieved.

So the next time you want to learn, act as if you know nothing.