I wish you smartness and hope you know many things. I hope you listened while in school and absorbed all the knowledge presented to you. I hope you read interesting things now and internalize the information. I hope you live life with an attitude of competency based on your vast repository of fun facts.

Regardless of how many facts you know (or think you know) or how quick you are with a Google search, there are simply things you do not know. And there are over seven billion people on the planet and they might know many of the things you don’t. Learn to access the brilliance of others not because it is a way to increase your own store of facts, but because it is delightful to learn what and how other people think.

Even the most brilliant person in the whole wide world doesn’t know what I had for breakfast today, but I do. And that genius out there doesn’t know why I chose that particular meal, but I do. The smartest person in the world knows many things I don’t know, but conversely, I know many things that person doesn’t or couldn’t.

I’ve had a variety of careers/jobs in my lifetime and I know the intricacies involved in those areas. Reading about intensive care or surgery is far different than actually working in those places. The same is true of teaching or with office work. Being retired brings its own areas of undiscovered wonderment.

My long life has given me opportunities to pick up a variety of information sets. Other people, both young and old, have had totally different experiences. I have no idea what it is like to live in Asia since I’ve never even visited the continent let alone resided there. Billions of people know things I can’t even guess at.

I’ve never lived in 48 of the 50 states, although I have visited several others. Each time I journey outward, I learn new things. Some of the things which are brand new to me are old hat to the people of the region I’m visiting. We know our own local stories, but there is a vast world out there full of interesting, fascinating, enthralling stories we’ve never heard or even dreamed of.

Everyone knows things you don’t know. Listen to them and you will learn a great deal. Be patient and let them speak fully. Give them the gift of your attention and you will receive a far greater gift – their stories.

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How do we find answers? According to today’s picture, we look inside. I disagree. My insides aren’t smarter than my outsides. There are times when I desperately need outside information. Asking others for input is not only possible, it is at times the only way to get to the answer. We do not and cannot have all the answers ourselves.

Once you consult your outside world via person to person interaction or via the internet and doing some sort of information search, you have to weigh the answers you find and at that point, it is good to look inside and see if the answers now at your disposal really meet your needs or bring you closer to your stated goals.

There are many outside sources you can access and all of them might have a different answer for you. What you read in one book is often the polar opposite of some other author’s idea of the best answer ever. This is because life is not black and white. There is no perfect answer. There is no one size fits all. There are innumerable shades of gray to choose from.

And the toughest part is what is the right answer for today may not be the right answer next year or even next week. We live in flux and our daily lives are full of chaos and uncertainty. The answers are just as fluid as the problems they propose to solve.

Listen to others. Take from them the lessons they have to offer. You do not have the time to make all the mistakes and learn all the various ways to be in error. Let others offer you their insight into what the hell went wrong because something is always going wrong.

And then, after gathering data, choose. Something. Act. You can get so lost in the acquisition of data points that you become paralyzed and that is just as bad as making no choice at all. Gather a reasonable amount of information. Assess the situation as it now stands. Try an answer and if it works – great. If it doesn’t, you still have time to try another course.

You don’t have to go it alone. Seek and ye shall find. It’s not just a Google thing.

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