Naivety is an Asset

When someone calls you naive it tends to be taken as an insult. I believe, however, that being naive can be an asset and it has been to me, personally, in business and in yoga.

First, the personal - when I moved to Chicago almost 13 years ago, I knew NOTHING about Chicago. I didn't have friends here nor did I have any connections or insights into the city. I came here for grad school and then planned to move back to San Francisco ASAP! I did what research I could do about where to live. I heard that Lincoln Park was a good neighborhood, so I found an apartment there. Although I had no serious problems, I know now that I overpaid for my tiny apartment, I couldn't park my car anywhere to save my life and I had to take 2 super-slow bus rides to school and work everyday because a train was nowhere in miles. I also got my car broken into twice! After a year, I moved. I moved to Wicker Park. At the time, it was not filled with the designer shops and yuppie condos. People that I met asked me if I lived alone - yes, why? Isn't that neighborhood sketchy? I don't think so. I had the best time in Wicker Park. I hopped on the Blue line everyday, I parked within 5 min of coming home, I walked to new restaurants and bars. I never had a break-in. I was naive about the area in general and it was an advantage. If I had been 'educated' about the area, I may have been too afraid to move there and I wouldn't have discovered this gem of a neighborhood.

In business - If you know me, you know that I am not a yoga instructor and I am far from a yoga expert. I just wanted to open my own business and loved yoga. Therefore, I did not know much (and still don't) about the Chicago yoga scene, politics or industry. I am naive. This has served me to date in so many ways. I am not afraid (because I don't really know what to be afraid of). I make decisions based on how I think things should work, not just because they have always been done that way. I question assumptions. When people ask me sometimes why I do certain things, I often say "why not?" I believe that this has made Tula unique and has contributed much to our success so far.

In yoga - As with the personal and the business aspects, I believe that a certain amount of naivety can also serve you in your yoga practice. There are so many stereotypes of people who do yoga. If you had done much research about yoga and the yoga world before starting a practice - you may not have started. There are books about how it can 'wreck your body', there are articles about how yoga is just a big sex-cult, there are on-going debates and drama around the 'right' types of yoga. If you google YOGA, you usually end up with images of either old, Indian men in white cloths doing yoga on a mountain top or the Lululemon-clad skinny-minnies who can put their feet behind their heads. Most people do not fit into either of these 2 categories. I believe that people should come to yoga with a clear head. These images and preconceived notions often do little more than to frighten people and keep people from trying it out themselves and making yoga their own.

So the next time someone calls you naive, take it as a compliment and know that being naive can potentially open up the world of endless, fearless possibilities to you.