Awareness is the gift of competence. When we become an expert tennis player, we develop heightened awareness of every move on the court. When we’re expert presenters, we observe the subtleties of the room and the audience better than others. And, when we’re good at life, we are intensely aware of reality and our ability to shape it.
But, while we all work hard on developing the increased awareness that comes with competence, we don’t often realize that the increased awareness needs to be accompanied with a bigger capacity for kindness. When we lose that ability to be considerate and generous, we develop a fixed mindset and react to any perceived incompetence with arrogance, annoyance, and frustration.
However, if we err on the side of ensuring we always have more kindness for every ounce of awareness, we develop the ability to help others grow.
Of course, what makes this all very interesting is that this needn’t be viewed with the lens of “others.” Kindness starts within. And, our ability to develop a growth mindset, thus, requires us to learn to be kind to ourselves. When we’re able to be that person for ourselves, we’re able to help ourselves grow while also being that person for others.
That is why it is more important to be kind than clever.