Inspiration: Choose Ignorance…it’s Curable!

Sometimes you feel like one amongst many. Like you only blend in and no one truly knows you. There are times in life when that can work to your advantage…those still waiting to be picked for kick ball, those waiting at a bus stop on a late night, those still sitting in the restaurant waiting for the rain to end. However when it comes to your talent and unique features and traits, there is nothing worse than being made one of the crowd when you have worked hard to be an individual. 

I had that happen to me today. In simple terms someone who ‘knows’ me and my skills, talents, abilities made a generic statement where what I have done for over twenty years was completely ignored. I felt angry, and disappointed. It was as if the last decades of my life and work were for nothing. I was so stunned I was left silent. And for me to be without words is a defining moment. 

After I blew off steam by yelling at my cat, I blew off more steam walking around. Now that it is several hours later, my perspective is clearer and I have a completely different reaction. WHAT AN IDIOT! It hit me that not knowing my strengths, skills, and accomplishments was something this person was not interested in at all. They made the generic statement to sound profound or intelligent, and all they really ended up sounding was stupid. They should have known better from all the conversations we have had, which tells me they were not listening. They have had an opportunity to observe what I have been doing for years, which tells me they didn’t care enough to absorb the information and retain it. They should have thought before they opened their mouth, which tells me they were more concerned with impressing than understanding. My first reaction was all about me, my calmed down reaction was all about them. 

I am still disappointed in feeling minimized, but more so in that I let this ‘idiot’ impact my mood. Eleanor Roosevelt made a great statement: No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.  And silly me, I had given this person permission without even realizing it. I had gotten upset when really they didn’t know me, eventhough they claimed to. I have worked with this person for over four years, and still they had no idea who I was or what I have done.

So who is the problem here, me or the person who made the stupid statement? They acted like they knew me, but in reality they had no idea, or more accurately they chose to have no idea. Their statement made me realize I had paid more attention to them than they had to me. Some people are ignorant, who can then be educated and hence no longer ignorant. Then there are those who are stupid, and will always choose to stay that way. 

So next time you have an opportunity to get to know people, take the time to see each individual petal instead of only noticing the bloom. Each individual has a part to play, an element to bring to the big picture and by ignoring that contribution you simply make yourself look stupid. The smart people…the really, really smart people have learned to value the contributions those around them make, and acknowledge those assets. The stupid people want to impress when all they are really doing is making themselves look even more stupid. Better to appear stupid, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Choose to be ignorant, it’s curable!

Inspiration: Thank You Miss Lang

We all had to endure math class in school, and the teacher always said you would use math every day of your life. I actually enjoyed math once I figure it out. I was in third grade learning my multiplication tables, and I could not get the concept of carrying the one…I always got it wrong. And when I mean always, I mean always. I started flunking math everyday. It got so bad that one day Miss Lang kept me after school. She sat down next to me and asked me to do the daily math test in front of her. That is when she saw the problem…I was carrying the one into the wrong column. Once she figured out what I was doing wrong, she explained to me how to do it right, and I never failed another math test. 

Miss Lang was patient enough to to stay after school and work with me so that I understood the basics. She could have just let me continue to fail and summarize that math is not for girls…but she didn’t. She took her own time to find out what was going on and make it right. If she had not done that I can’t imagine how awful my future math days would have been. 

After my third grade of school Miss Lang moved to Texas to get married. She only taught school in our town for one year. I was blessed by that one year. I would hope that another teacher would have spent that time with me if Miss Lang had not been there…yet who knows. Thank you Miss Lang for investing in me so I understood the basics of multiplication. You changed my world. 

Who could you invest in to change their world? What do you know that someone else needs to know? What foundational rule of life have you learned that you need to pass onto someone else? They are out there, the students and learners that need your knowledge. Maybe tomorrow I the day you need to be someone’s Miss Lang. 

Inspiration: We See Possibilities…and Hard Work

We drove past a lumber yard this morning, and stopped to check out the treasure trove of wood piles. Most people see piles and pallets and mounds of wood…we see possibilities. Most of this has been organzied by wood type or segmented into wood taken from a particular location or torn down barn. In the back you can see piles that have been picked through and left to look like a mess of toothpicks…and yet we see possibilities. 

We frequent lumber yards, junk yards, dirty barns and other places where ‘junk’ might hide…and yet we see possibilities. It takes time and effort and a willingness to get dirty and dust covered, and endure the inevitable scratch or splinter…and yet after all that we still see possibilities. This is fun to us. Uncovering waht other people don’t want and finding treasure, to us this is exciting. You have to be willing to dig and lift and endure disgusting, dirty and often smelly places…and yet the possibilities are endless. 

Possibilities also mean there will be hard work in your future. Taking something from it’s rough form to a final product takes lots and lots of time. There will be elbow grease and cleaning products, sand paper and many hours of time. You may do all this alone or in the company of people who are also willing to work hard on possibilities. However you choose to get the job, be willing to get the job done. 

Life is full of possibilities. And in almost every case those possibilities lead to lots of hard work. Sometimes I think we don’t see possibilities because we see the large amount of hard work it will create. The work prevents us from being able to imagine other options…work prevents us from wanting try anything new. Work can make us tired before we even get started. Work on weekends creating things after having worked all week at our jobs can seem insane. And yet without the hard work we don’t get the amazing end results, the self satisfaction, the pride in a job well done. Without giving it a shot we never learn anything more than how to handle the day to day boring stuff of life. 

Give possibilities you see a chance and don’t be afraid of the hard work. As we were all told as kids, hard work never killed anyone.