Know Your Role

I have learned many lessons in my life, but perhaps none as important as the topic of this post.

It can be a life-changer. It can help you every day. It can lower your stress levels and mend strained relationships. It can help you sleep at night. It can literally make you a happier person.

No, I am not selling an anti-depressant. I'm not against them, but what I'm going to offer to you is free and does not require an insurance plan.

So here it is...

Quit pretending you know everything and that you can fix all the world's problems.



You can fix some things, and you ought to work hard to figure out those most important things in your personal life; but the rest can be left alone.

Consider Psalm 131:1.

"LORD, my heart is not haughty [proud], nor mine eyes lofty. Neither do I exercise [concern] myself in great matters, or in things too high for me."

I have personally wrestled with the desire to act like I know everything about everything and always have the answer. 

It is proud (as the verse implies) to assume that you understand all the great problems of the world. It is arrogant (lofty) for you to think that you know how to fix everything.

If you're so amazing at resolving the world's problems, then why aren't you?

Oh, I know. You would, but all those idiots out there are preventing your from unleashing your razor-sharp analyses and keenly insightful conflict resolutions. Right? I know, it's tough knowing everything.

I believe many people, especially people who tend to be critical, would be better off if they admitted they don't have the solution to every problem. It would probably lower their blood pressure and help them make some friends too.

It's easy to be a critic. 

What takes discipline is closing your mouth and realizing you don't really know what you're talking about.

Let's consider a few examples:

Politics

Religion

Science

Psychology

International affairs

World economies

Financial management

Raising children

Poverty

Racism

Violent crimes

Drug use

This list just scrapes the surface. There is a lot to know! And that's my point.

The more I learn, the more ignorant I feel. Every door of learning that I move through reveals five hundred more doors of learning that I realize I have never passed through. There is literally not enough time in my life to be expert in all these areas.

It's important to have a passion, a niche, a particular area that you excel in. Perhaps you have more than one. Great! But you're not expert on all, so stop acting like it.

The sum of knowledge in the universe is too great for you. It's too high for your mind. It's beyond you.

Pursue knowledge in the areas that you feel most passionate about, and don't worry about the rest.

Many people, myself included, feel the urge to jump all over a topic and pretend that they could fix everything--if only they were in charge.

Well, you're not in charge; and if you were, then you would realize just how difficult it is to be in charge.

Balance:



The extremist thinker has already ripped this post to shreds by saying, "The author doesn't really know anything so I don't have to listen to this post. He doesn't really know what he's talking about."

Fair enough. 

But if you're thinking that, I must tell you that you are the bulls-eye target of this post.

I'm not saying criticism is to be avoided at all costs. There are times to tell people they messed up (or are currently messing up). There are times to stand up for what you believe in and be vocal about injustices or negligence.

This post is not intended to silence the well-read, intelligent critics. It's intended to foster a self-reflection before lashing out against someone or something.

I am learning each day to ask myself, "Am I really qualified to criticize this person or this idea?"

Sometimes the answer is yes.

More often the answer is no.

Image credits:
'My role is _____' image from http://jasonwhitehurst.org/2014/05/17/019-know-role-podcast/
Man balancing on chair image from http://puuuh.tumblr.com/

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