You Can’t Fill a Cup That is Already Full…

How can you learn more if you know everything?

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I want to take a minute to tell an interesting story that has struck a chord with me. It’s an old story about a reporter and a monk.

The story goes something like this. There was a reporter who was very interested in Buddhism. He studied Buddhism for years and considered himself an “expert” on the topic, despite having never actually met a Buddhist monk.

One day, he got the chance to fly across the world and meet a real Buddhist monk.

When they sat down, the reporter immediately started telling the monk everything he knew about Buddhism. He’s going on and on and on, acting like he knows everything there is to know. Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes… Meanwhile, the monk has said nothing.

During this time, the monk sets down two cups on the table for tea.

As the reporter continues to talk, the monk starts pouring the tea into the glass. As the reporter continues to speak, he realizes that there is tea pouring all over his legs. The monk continued to pour the tea into the cup, even as it overflowed and poured all over the table and onto the reporter’s legs.

Finally, the reporter stops and asks the monk, “What are you doing?!”

The monk replies, “You can’t fill a cup that is already full.”

What does it mean?

Even though this story might sound a little out there, there’s a valuable lesson behind it.

The reporter was acting like he knew everything there is to know about Buddhism. And judging by his actions, he really thought that to be true. Of course, this is ridiculous because he’s talking to an actual Buddhist monk. Clearly, the Buddhist monk knows more about Buddhism than he does.

But that didn’t matter, because the reporter felt as if he knew everything there was to know. He felt that his cup was already full. 

The monk was making a point. And the point was that the reporter wasn’t open to new information. He could have gained an incredible amount of knowledge from that Buddhist monk, but it was impossible for the monk to share anything with him because the reporter’s “cup” was already full.

Your cup should never be full

We’re all smart. We’ve all acquired knowledge and had amazing experiences throughout our lives. 

But you have to continue to be open to new information. You must allow yourself to continue to gather new knowledge throughout your life. Your cup should never be full, because your cup can’t ever be full. There will always be new information available to you and you need to take advantage of it.

I’ve been a victim of this myself. Sometimes, I feel like I know everything there is to know about a topic. This story helped remind me that sometimes I need to take a step back and realize that I’m not an expert in everything. Even when I think I know everything there is to know, I probably don’t.

So, are you keeping your mind open? Have you ever had a moment where you acted like the reporter in this story? I hope this will remind you to keep learning new things whenever and wherever you can.

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