I’m an intelligent person – just average like the rest of us, good at some things, less good at others. But what it is really odd is how seem to see me. If only I was as smart as some people think I am!
What I do day-to-day is just what appears to be the next thing – the on right in front of me. I look for guidance to see that it appears to be the right thing, but really, I don’t get to control the outcome of my action – I just do the best I can. And then looking back it sometimes seems that I had it planned all along – ah ha! someone will say, I see now why you did such-and-such 5 years ago, it was so that you’d be able to do so-and-so now.
Or from the other angle, another person will say “let’s do this activity”, and I’ll agree, and turn up ready to take part – and they will say “Why didn’t you bring this with you?”. Simply because I didn’t know I needed to, whilst they assumed – clever person that I am – that I would know that this was expected of me.
Wow! If only I was cleaver enough!
It seems to be a common feeling among many I talk to that there is this expectation from others, and this willingness to believe that we other people can plan their futures. We are all encouraged to plan – and planning is very important – but it’s even more important to know that they are only plans, not reality.
In my previous life as a Project Manager I know this only too well – how many project don’t deliver what they promise, or do deliver, but later than expected, or at a greater cost? None of mine, of course, but other people’s projects had this all the time!
Actually, that is to be expected: the unknown problem, or the unforeseen event, are called that because we don’t know about them, and we don’t know what we don’t know.
And it is the same in our own personal lives – I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I will do today what I can, and act in such a way that I’m as prepared as I can be for the future. And when tomorrow turns out to be other than I planned for – well, that is OK too.
Because it is in the unexpected turns of events that we find both the most exciting challenges, and the best rewards. It’s just when life throws us a curve ball that we get to re-think what we are and where we are going. That perfect job that we strived for years may turn out to be a hassle that we don’t need, but the journey to get there was its own reward, and now we are ready to look for a new challenge. The house we scrimped and saved to pay for may be destroyed in a freak storm, but the experience will teach us about what is really important.
If I really was that smart, and 10 years ago I had been able to correctly map out a path for myself up till now, it would look a lot different from the life I have, and my experiences along the way would have been less varied and less of a challenge – but ultimately I’m not smart enough to have imagines what I would have done and lived through this last decade.
I’m not as smart as they think I am – in knowing I don’t know, I think I’m a lot smarter.