Shawn Maxam discusses how unrealistic it is to expect everyone to know about absolutely everything.
It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.
In our modern society we have all agreed there are several various types of intelligence. We are all either more competent or less competent in certain niches of intelligence than other people. Also our own levels of intelligence aren’t static and can fluctuate due to a myriad of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Below are a few quick examples of the different types of intelligence. It is definitely not a definitive list:
Emotional Intelligence – related to emotions, feelings and self-awareness of emotions
Professional Intelligence - related to a particular job, career or profession
Social Intelligence – related to social and group interactions
Civic Intelligence – related to government, politics and democratic participation
Academic Intelligence – related to school, the academy and traditional educational
Parental Intelligence – related to family and child-rearing
Our expectation of the average person or professional having multidisciplinary expertise and intelligence shows up constantly in our daily lives. We usually assume the medical doctor who has specific esoteric knowledge about a specialty of medicine should also be really smart about politics or be a great parent or be engaging and have wonderful bedside manner. I am a fairly decent writer but I am horrible at changing tires or hanging drywall. No one can be good at everything or even be mediocre at everything. It’s impressive when people have an adequate working knowledge of several complex areas of expertise. I don’t and I can admit this. What perplexes me is when people want to wax poetic about a particular topic they are clearly misinformed about.
It is okay to say “I don’t now much about that and can you tell me more”. Every conversation doesn’t need to be a debate or a squabble over who is right. It frightens me to think about the level of ignorance expressed when we have a resource like the Internet that makes information more accessible. Granted having access to information doesn’t teach you how to think critically.
This is connected to what I believe are our perceptions of self and projections of self. We never want to feel inadequate or lesser than in any situation so we project expertise or expect universal expertise. We leave no room for learning, no opportunity for ourselves or others to make mistakes and we chastise each other if we change our minds or admit ineptitude.
We generally talk in absolutes and create perfection-laden expectations of self and others i.e. once your child is born you are supposed to be the best parent. Once you get married you have to be the best spouse. Once you enter political office you are supposed to fix every issue right now. Once you graduate from college you have to get a great job and be the best worker at that job as soon as you begin. These are ludicrous and emotional destructive expectations. We are committing psychic suicide with such a unrealistic belief system of self and others.
I think if we focus less on fostering an impression of being impressive than I believe we all can become better listeners and a more constructive dialogues can possibly happen between individuals and groups.
Then again what the heck do I know.
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