Spread Your Smart

The last four months have really highlighted the fact that people do not listen. Why should they? They know everything. Read their social media accounts. Listen to them at the store. Watch them sneak on the nightly news, when they are interviewed in a parking lot.

The level of arrogance and incompetence that has risen amid this pandemic is embarrassing.

Frankly, I am tired of it.

There is a severe lack of respect for anyone tasked with ensuring our safety right now. You want to second guess medical professionals because, somehow, you and your non-existent medical degree know what’s best?

Fine, go ahead. I am done fighting it. Let the ignorance reign supreme. We are here now.

No one likes to be told what to do – I get it – but life is a team sport, and we cannot all be the Captain of the team. Sometimes, you have to be a good teammate. You have to be someone who cheers for the success of others and helps them along the way.

And if you do not know how to be a good teammate after being involved in dozens and dozens of group projects in school, then you were probably the one who relied on someone else to do your part.

Humanity is constantly in a tug of war contest with itself. The funny thing is, we all want the same thing. I am not talking about the extravagant things. I am talking about the core of our very essence.

We want to be happy. Right? That is at the root of everything.

You can create a flow chart from here to Timbuktu, branching off of the word, “Happy”. I think this is why people do not listen. When they hear something that takes away from their comfort, or detracts from their temporary state of happiness, they push back.

“How dare you be happy, at the expense of me?”

Grow up, man. People talk about how millennials were coddled with participation trophies, well what excuse does every other generation have for behaving the same way?

I remember in high school, we learned about “globalization” and how the world felt like it was getting closer together because of the internet, and our ability to reach people far away, in seconds.

On paper, it sounded magnificent.

But in a lot of ways, I feel like we have squandered the opportunity. It just feels like there is constant yelling going on. People forgetting to think before they speak, or choosing not to change their words, before pressing, “Send”.

As I said before, there is a lot of arrogance and incompetence out there, and most of it is a result of an unwillingness to listen and understand.

No one ever changes their mind on an issue because someone replies to them on social media with the opposing view. I do not know why people waste their time trying to convince others of something they will never believe.

To that end, it feels like negativity will win the day and those of us seeking an alternative must do so by either looking away, or scrolling faster.

With all of that in mind, an idea came to me. It may not be original, but it is conveniently packaged in a three-word phrase that you can tuck away in your wallet.

Spread Your Smart.

What do I mean by “Smart”?

1. The things about which we are knowledgeable. They could be books, video games, the thing we went to school for, cooking, art, sports, history, the bus schedule, animals, or even something as simple as tying your shoe. You get the point.

2. Our passions and interests, most of which will be things we are knowledgable about.

3. How we treat others. Do we say “thank you”? Do we hold doors open for people? Do we help the elderly down a snow bank? Are we nice? Are we welcoming?

Your “Smart” is, essentially, the things that make you, you. Except, we’re leaving the negativity at home.

Spread your smart, like butter on toast. Make sure it reaches every corner.

Think of this as a version of, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Share your knowledge, share your passions, and share your kindness.

This is not about all of us staying in our own lane, although it kind of is. We are all experts in our own way. Where we get in trouble is when we try and be experts on things we know nothing about, and then disguise it as an opinion under “freedom of speech.”

Those long answer questions on exams in school, worth 15 marks, only turned us into terrific bull-poopers, who could make stuff up on the spot and try and pass them off as factual, or relevant. In actuality, we were just trying to fill up the empty lines because we felt like we had to.

I read in a book once, something along the lines of, “The world is full of opportunities just begging you to be quiet. Seize every single one of those opportunities.”

In other words, we won’t learn anything, if we’re always the one talking.

So, give yourself a friendly reminder to zip it, every now and then.

They say that we are who we surround ourselves with. Social media has given us the opportunity to surround ourselves with people we will never physically stand next to.

By spreading your smart, you could be adding puzzle pieces to those around you. Because aren’t we all just a giant puzzle, taking pieces from others?

I should note that “Spread Your Smart” does not just entail sharing pieces of yourself. It means you are growing your knowledge base, by listening, or doing your own research. I hear the internet has everything.

Or maybe you are spreading your smart by finally opening your eyes to hobbies you stubbornly ignored in the past, just because they were easier to scoff at, or joke about.

I may not be a perfect representative for this “Spread Your Smart” idea. Until recently, I felt uncomfortable sharing all of my blog posts on Twitter.

Sounds silly, right?

I felt like I was bothering people by filling their news feed with a link to a post about stuff they probably wouldn’t read. The whole, “no one cares, though” phrase echoed in my head and still does with some things.

Somehow, I got over it because – I care, though.

Still, I feel stifled when it comes to other interests. I wish I could just tweet about wrestling – of all things – but, “no one cares, though.” It is tough when you have an interest and there is no one with whom to talk about it.

Maybe you can relate.

The thing I have learned from WordPress is that if someone writes about something they are passionate about, then maybe one of their readers will develop an interest in it, too.

This community can be a bit peer-pressurey in a very subtle, but good way.

Heck, I did not think about running, until a few bloggers wrote about it. All of a sudden, there I was running down the sidewalk, breathing in freshly cut grass, and thinking about how dumb I was to keep running further and further away from the place I would ultimately be returning to.

Why?

Because someone else “spread their smart” and it had an impact on me.

That is the point I am trying to make with this post, which is coming off as a bit preachy, but ignore that. I SAID IGNORE IT.

In a world of influencers and marketers, who never try to hide their desire to sell us something, I think we are most influenced by those who are not trying to sell us anything.

We are influenced by personal stories, or at least, I am.

This whole, “yelling at people until they change their mind and see things your way” is a waste of time.

Sure, that technique may work on large corporations, or anyone who has a Public Relations department. But on an individual person, whose customer service representative is themselves – with a louder voice – it is not worth it.

All these online profiles, and instead of sharing the things that make them happy, a lot of people go out of their way to upset others.

Will that ever stop, or have we given up hope?

The idea that one person can change the world is a daunting one. Do any of us actually believe we are that “one”. Probably not. There are millions of dominos to knock over.

But what if we were all one domino, on the outer edges, and fell at the same time?

And maybe we do it by focusing on what makes us happy and sharing the things we know, the things we like, and the way in which we treat others.

Imagine how that could spread.

Spread Your Smart.

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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21 Responses to Spread Your Smart

  1. This post hits home for me. I too am exhausted from the level of ignorance humanity is exhibiting. As someone who travels by transit to and from work everyday, I fear for my life and well being because people do not KNOW how to practice social distancing if the LORD himself descended from the heavens and explained it himself. I live at home with my parents, two EXTREMELY high risk people. I would never forgive myself if I brought something home from going to work. People are still not wearing masks.. people are choosing to wear them improperly, people are trying to sit beside you regardless if you are blocking the seat with your entire body and shaking your head furiously “no” .. We were all given a task. STAY AWAY FROM EACH OTHER! Why are their groups of people (regardless of age) trotting over time bars and pubs??? Make a damn bar in your backyard and stay with your damn immediate circle.

    The fact that people are arguing this isn’t real and the virus is a joke.. tell that to the people who have been personally affected.. to the people who lost someone.. to the people who couldn’t even say goodbye..the human race is failing here!

    It’s simple. Do your part. That’s all that is asked. Make smart decisions, read situations. Is it safe? What would happen if I happen to be asymptomatic and infect someone who is high risk or someone who is around high risk people? Stop being selfish. Stop thinking about how your summer was ruined. This is less than ideal.. but you are still alive so be grateful for that. There are so many others who can’t say the same.

    I hope people read your blog post and hear it. Thank you Paul for touching on such a sensitive topic.

    Time to smarten up! ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

    • Paul says:

      I’m sorry you have to put up with that every day. I feel like some people think that masks and social distancing is only a suggestion, or it’s only for people who didn’t wake up coughing. They don’t comprehend how uncomfortable they are making other people because they’ve probably never thought about how others are affected by their actions.

      Yeah, at this point if people are still questioning if this is real…I don’t know how they take themselves seriously.

      Thanks Jenna, stay safe out there!

      Like

  2. Bill says:

    I tweet all my blog posts, but I literally created a new Twitter account to do it so I wouldn’t bother my friends with it. (Finding new, online friends has been a bonus.)

    Also, I will talk wrestling with you anytime.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thanks Bill, I might just take you up on that offer!

      Funny thing is, I started my current Twitter account 3 years ago specifically to share blog posts. And then after a few months it turned into my personal one as well and I ditched my old one, so then I went back to feeling uncomfortable sharing posts. But I seem to be passed that now. Thanks for all you do on Twitter.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. markbialczak says:

    This would make our world better, Paul.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nicely said, Paul. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are right on the money, Paul. Thank you for your courage in standing up and saying it. Spreading Our Smart has a greater influence than any of us believe. All of us (whether we realize it or not) are moved with calm, kindness, love, truth. Most of all truth. Be part of the solution in our out of control world, folks. Spread your Smart. Think what could happen if we all spoke up. My blog is me doing my part. We need more voices trying to make a positive difference. Thanks for this, Paul!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Becky says:

    I’m glad that I could peer-pressure you into running. My job here is done.

    But I really feel ya on this post. I think we need to use our knowledge for good and not just yell at everyone, especially when it’s easier to do it behind a screen.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      I’m starting to think part of the allure of running is the ability to freely complain about it afterwards.

      We’ve said it before, way too many people are comfortable replying to strangers or accounts with checkmarks on Twitter.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Catherine says:

    I agree with all of this. And I am also familiar with that voice that keeps us from tweeting every blog post.
    I am trying to spread my knowledge, my passion, even though I am aware that I am quite alone with that in my corner – music and poetry. But, there is a lot of negativity on my blog too because I am sharing my internal struggles. Sometimes I feel bad about that, but I don’t want to bottle it up either.

    I am in a bubble. I try to inform myself and keep from sharing anything political or religious, because I don’t know enough about it. But I know about me, I know about music (and if I don’t, I do my research), and I know about being an educator and parent.

    I like your post so much, it is smart, rational and informed. Share you smart. Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Don’t feel bad about sharing internal struggles. I think it’s very brave that you do that. There are so many of us who don’t share stuff like that and to you share it makes people feel less alone, even if they don’t tell you.

      Thank you for your comment! Keep sharing your smart!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post! It blows my mind how ignorant people are these days. I have close family that thinks it’s all a political hoax and try to tell me I’m crazy for staying inside cooped up. What a crazy time in our lives!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Thank you! Oh man, see that’s what I don’t get. People make us seem like the weird ones for staying inside and not wanting to be exposed to a virus. What a crazy time, indeed!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. rebbit7 says:

    I’ve honestly been feeling these exact sentiments for the past two months. While we can’t live without politics, we can certainly live without all of the anger, hypocrisy, and ignorance that people project based on their opinions. This is why “identity politics” is so toxic, and it’s causing even the most-sensible people I know to become pseudo-revolutionists who think they’re doing society a big favor by re-posting bad news when, in fact, they aren’t helping at all. It’s easy to get jaded about it all, but I think the best way to go about this is to try to see each other’s perspectives (e.g. why they’re angry, why you’re not) and if it doesn’t work, just move on. I’ve found that keeping my head down and seeking knowledge for myself was a lot more productive than being fed biased news on social media. And also knowing when to step away from social media when consumption got too unhealthy. Paradoxically, our inactions become actions, and I think being smarter about how we’re expressing ourselves is the first step in going forth in having civil discourse, then change.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      I wonder if people are too far gone, and going back to seeing things from other’s perspective is a thing they can’t do anymore because it’s so much easier to yell and voice their own opinion. It’s sad, really. On the flip side, I feel like there are those who know when to ignore social media and not fall prey to certain stories. We need more people like that because too many aren’t thinking for themselves anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This really touched on how I’ve been feeling lately. It baffles me how so many people believe they know everything when they haven’t even done the research. I’m almost tempted to just stay in quarantine forever because I have no interest in being around people like that haha.
    But I do agree with the “spread your smart” concept. If someone is so passionate about something, you can tell. The way they speak about it, how it lights their eyes up, how they’re always reading up on it-it shows, and that’s the type of passion that’s contagious without intending to be. Plus, if they’re passionate about it, they’re probably more than happy to help you with any advice/tips on whatever it is without expecting anything in return.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Same, if people are just going to wander around without a mask and act like nothing is going on, I’ll be happy staying home forever lol

      Wow, you described the “spread your smart” concept better than I did! You’re so right – when someone talks about their passion, it’s contagious and piques the interest of others without coming across as forceful. I think we turn away from people who say “you SHOULD do ___”. Like no, leave us alone lol

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: The week gone by — Aug. 2 – A Silly Place

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