My favorite parable.
“It reminds me there was this funny moment years ago when I was first studying tai chi. I was in William C.C. Chen’s tai chi studio. This was back in, I think it was in 1998, 1999. And there was this guy who had been studying for decades, and he was telling a story.
He was holding court within his knowledge of wisdom within this domain. He said, “When I studied tai chi for a year, I thought I knew what I was doing. I thought I was starting to understand it. But after two years, I realized everything I thought after a year was wrong. It was just wrong. But now I understood. And then after four years, I realized everything I thought after two years was wrong.” And he went on with this story, in this pattern.
“But now I understood. Then, when after eight years, the same thing, everything I thought before it was wrong. Now, I’ve been training for 16 years and everything I thought after eight years was wrong, but now I finally understand.”
I remember thinking at the time, “Man, you got it, but you didn’t get it.” The point is, you don’t know now either, right? After 16 years, you’ve been going through the repetition? What about after 32 years? So far, that visualization is designed to help me know that I don’t know, right? Which is so important. It’s so easy to think that we were in the dark yesterday but we’re in the light today, but we’re fucking in the dark today, too.’
Josh Waitzkin, Feb 2020, The Tim Ferriss Show. Ep 412: Josh Waitzkin on Beginner’s Mind, Self-Actualization, and Advice from Your Future Self