art making

Lack of Curiosity Kills by Ron Cowie

The example of an overflowing teacup to illustrate my resistance to learning is apt. I’m so full of everything “I already know” I become unteachable.

On the second day of my material and processes class (M&P), at the New England School of Photography, I was talking with the teaching assistant about film and specifically which film was “better”. I had my brand and he had his. When he challenged my brand, I could feel the grandiose “lizard-brain” rise to protect me. The next thought I had saved my academic and professional career. Instead of doubling down on what I “knew for sure”, the idea of acting “as-if”  I don’t know anything about photography arrived. I gave myself permission to be a beginner. I had the chance to actually learn stuff I already thought I knew.

The freedom and ease from not having to keep up the “know-it-all” act saved a lot of energy and stress. What I missed in grandiose posturing, I gained through humility. I also had a lot more fun.

I will never be entirely free of this self-defeating behavior but, every day provides new opportunities to learn and practice the alternative. For this, I am grateful


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