The waves of Lake Superior surged through sub-freezing temperatures and smashed against the side of the highway as we drove up north this past weekend. We were already two hours north of Minneapolis, and we had two more hours to go to reach, Lutsen Ski Area. My wife touched my arm inside our warm car; we were celebrating our two year marriage anniversary. This wasn’t the place I was expecting to find the best advice for life in two words.
“An epiphany just hit me.” My wife said. “I just realized two of the most important two words in the English language everyone should know by heart. It has to be the best advice ever. You need to master these words if you want to be successful and live your dreams in life.”
I simultaneously listened to her and watched the waves in the largest lake in the world, Lake Superior, crash against the shore next to us. Huge icicles formed on the rocks jutting out of the lake. They looked like dark gargoyle sculptures looking at the horizon created by the spirit of time.
Thirty minutes before this moment, we had stopped to get coffee. I could sense the caffeine jolting my wife awake and I liked the intensity between us. The coffee was inspiring new ideas in our minds and we were both eager to share what we were experiencing in conversation.
“Wow. The best advice ever in two words. Now I’m interested. So what two words hold the source of all success?” I asked.
My wife drank from her coffee cup. I watched her focus. I could almost see her catching the ideas flowing through her mind like she had a butterfly net in one hand.
“These two words hold even more wisdom than just the secret to success,” she said. “They are tips for life. They are the cure to every wicked feeling we have. They can help you overcome jealousy, laziness, and depression. Anything that leads us to unhappiness.”
I looked at her surprised. The coffee was making me anxious. I wanted to know her thoughts. I wanted to experience the epiphany she was speaking about. “You’ve found two words that will solve all those problems?” I asked. “So what are these great tips for life?”
The waves splashed up onto the highway. The ice coated rocks flew past us at 60 miles an hour.
“Teach me.” She said. “That’s it.” She glanced at me and smiled. “That’s all you have to know. It’s the best advice on life ever. If you can harness the power in those two words, you can be as successful as you want to be. Just find people who know more than you, and ask them to teach you everything they know. That’s how ordinary people become extraordinary people. They’re constantly asking people who know more than they do, ‘Teach Me.”
“That’s the secret to success. That’s the secret to finding yourself. That’s the secret to live your dream life.”
I held onto the wheel and drove faster. The icy gargoyles on the rocks along the road looked bigger, like they were watching us. “How did you come to this revelation? These two words, that hold so much power.”
“It just hit me,” she said. “For so much of my life, I’ve been so wrong about what being smart meant. I always thought I should be embarrassed if I didn’t know everything. I thought not knowing everything was a weakness, so I covered up that front with a prideful mask of arrogance so I wouldn’t look stupid. But now I’m learning that when you think you know everything, you’re really the most ignorant person in the world. Truly brilliant people take pride in knowing the least, and they use every second of their life finding people who can help them learn. They ask everyone they meet: “Teach me. Show me. Lead me to something new that I don’t know.”
My wife passionately continued to talk as we drove north. “Those two words have the power to change EVERYTHING about you for the better.”
“For example, with those two words, I never have to feel jealousy again. If jealousy arises, I can just ask the person I’m feeling jealous of: Teach me everything you know. If I’m depressed, I can find someone who’s happy and ask them, teach me everything you know how to be happier. If I’m frustrated because things aren’t going my way, I can find someone with an incredible attitude I admire, and ask them, teach me how to do it. To solve almost any problem in life, all I have to know is how to ask, “Teach me” to people who know the answers, and then be ready, eager, and willing to learn.”
I nodded, amazed by the revelation my wife was experiencing. It took us two years of marriage to get to this point. But we finally made it. This is the reason we married each other. To make each other better. Then once we’re better, we can focus our efforts on making the world a better place.
READ DAY 2 OF THIS POST HERE: THE BEST MARRIAGE ADVICE EVER.
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