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.
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.