Today was a pretty exciting day. When I got to work I quickly learned that I would be filling in for a sick colleague and teaching a class of 12 paramedics. Luckily I had seen the curriculum once before – but that was it. I was fortunate to have two experienced peer educators there to assist with the short-notice task, and we took the horse by the reigns and galloped on through the day. Is that the right saying?…I don’t know…oh well. In short, I LOVED IT! Getting back up in front of a classroom and teaching excellent curriculum made me feel great. It rekindled my love of educating, and the short notice gave me the chance to embrace what paramedics do best – work under pressure, and get the job done.
I was ‘proud’ of myself at the end of the day, and equally proud of my peers; both educators and educetees. Yes, I know that’s not a word – humour me. 😉 But that feeling of ‘pride’ made me think of a lesson I had learned lately regarding this topic. We often use the term ‘pride’ endearingly when we are encouraging others or ourselves, “I’m proud of you”, but we must be wary of the underlying delusion that it can cause to surface; arrogance.
There is nothing wrong with feeling like we performed a task well…because maybe we did, but when pride starts to block our growth and learning, it becomes a root-delusion that can quickly transform into arrogance. Every day, everybody we encounter is teaching us something! How amazing is that? Just because my roll today at work was ‘educator’, by no means concluded that I had nothing to learn. Some of my favourite teachers growing up were the ones who asked the class what the students could teach them! And I do my best to emulate this.
For you visual learners out there, imagine with me if you will that pride is a tightrope over a canyon; on one side of the rope is arrogance, and on the other side is humility. Just like being able to walk across a tightrope successfully takes practice and concentration, being mindful of which ‘side’ you are leaning towards also takes practice. A good cue that can help us to recognize if we are leaning towards arrogance is whether or not we disrespect someone. The act of disrespect implies that our thoughts and actions are right, and blocks our willingness to learn what someone potentially has to teach us. We all have different opinions, that’s what makes humans so unique…and complicated lol. But because we don’t agree with an opinion, never warrants disrespect. Other arrogance red-flags include resisting advice, experiencing pain when criticized, and having difficulty admitting we are wrong. Humble people embrace advice, criticism and admit when they are wrong without hesitation.
So as I walk away from what I feel is a job well done today, I try my very best to remain mindful of growth-limitations in which pride can place on me. When I get frustrated because things aren’t going as planned, I need to check which side of the tightrope I’m leaning towards; arrogance or humility? Yes, many lessons come from falling, but being mindful while we balance may save us a few trips into the canyon.