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No to “Smarty Pants”: A Defense of Humility

by Guest Blogger | Sep 19th, 2016 | Leave a comment

Written By Guest Blogger, Stuart Arnett of ADG, LLC (and Plan NH Volunteer)

We at ADG just spent some real money on upgrading our web-site, so we can let our potential clients know just how good we are. Additionally, we each take turns blogging as “Subject Matter Experts,” the holy grail of social media marketing. My pix show up on this blog as well as in the web-site and other strategic places. Until recently, my name and the company’s were the same. So a “Listen to me, I’m an expert” blog on humility may seem ironic, if not disingenuous. But here goes:

I don’t know.

There, now that I’ve said that I feel better, and counter-cultural, too.

In my field, I have some pretty good experiences, but some of that is from what did not work. From my good-fortune education opportunities, I’ve retained some knowledge and skills, but they too have a shelf-life. I work with some real smart people, but they can only go so far making me look and sound like I have all the answers. But I don’t.

Is it just me, or does it seem that everyone that blogs, advertises, guest-speaks, or runs for office either says they know-all, or are expected to?  My Mom’s tender upbringing taught me to avoid the word “I” when I spoke (whoops, just did it…). One was not supposed to brag, or draw attention to themselves, and –worst of all – be a know-it-all. Should my mother really be peeved at one of us for this, she might even escalate the rebuke to the now-your-in-big-trouble “smarty pants” label, a sure indication of a dessert-less night.

Humility and its cousin meekness are often confused with weakness, or lack of resolve. I see them as necessary – if elusive – requirements for keeping an open mind to new solutions, encouraging a team-approach and encouraging collaboration. No, I’m not saying I want my doctor to answer my question about some illness with an “I haven’t a clue”; expertise is always essential should you presume to help others in your area of gift. But being knowledgeable is not the same as always being right.

Confidence, yes, but self-confidence that becomes arrogance, no.

And I think I’m not alone. Listen carefully to the reasons why Brexit, or the very-low positives for either presidential candidate, or the angst against mass media and government and you’ll hear the anger about being talked-down to.  This candidate says if you don’t agree, then you are not as smart as they are. The other says that your disagreement derives from their moral superiority. And either drive me –and others? – nuts when they simply conclude that “they know what’s best for me,” and then they are surprised I don’t thank them for their enlightened benevolence!

In my field of economic and community betterment, there are a billion moving parts.  Factors such as the local economy, demographics, real estate trends, new technologies, and local personalities and politics are just a few. We stay abreast of each as well as we can, and try to think and learn about what could work better. But my experience has always been that the expert’s recommendation is best viewed as a starting point; that it where we begin to discuss and learn – and rethink – solutions together. And that when several “I don’t know it all, but some of it, and I care about this community” people come together on a solution, and it is better than mine alone.

Feel free to disagree, as I don’t know it all.

Stu Arnett

stuart-head-shotadg-logo

Contact Stu:  7 SOUTH STATE STREET – SUITE 1, CONCORD NH 03301  Phone: 603.219.0043
www.ADG.solutions

Thank you for sharing Stu!

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