Learn it All

I knew somebody who would commentate on every cricket match he watched on television in the manner of an expert even though he had never held a cricket bat in his hand! He comes in the category of "know-it-alls" — people who behave as though they know everything and have the answer to every question. I am sure we have all come across them and found them obnoxious. However, the "know-it-all" rarely knows they are one, so we might fall into their lot! How can we tell? And what's the antidote?

Clue: We are the loudest in a conversation and often try to monopolize it. When we do listen, we are planning a comeback in our heads. Antidote: Stop talking and *really* listen. When the person is done speaking, process and respond. 

Clue: We keep pushing our agenda as though it is the only solution worth considering. Antidote: Take a step back, literally even. Go for a walk and consider the question: What if I'm wrong? Consider the other options objectively and see if they might not be better than the one you have proposed 

Clue: We have a smug look on our faces or have our arms crossed. Antidote: Be aware of your body posture. It reveals a lot. Try to sneak a look at a reflection in a mirror or a glass and check yourself out. Telling ourselves that others might have something important to contribute will automatically change our posture.

Clue: Even if we manage to hide it in our tone, we are scornful in our heads of what the other person is saying. Antidote: Listen to the options proffered respectfully and consider them with humility. We don't know as much as we think we do. Walking into a library — a real one; yes, they still exist — and looking at the books on a particular subject will make us realize this.

While we can apply this advice in the "world," it is even more critical in the spiritual arena, where we can get puffed up with knowledge and think we know more than we do. Paul thought he knew everything because of years of study and religious instruction. When he encountered Christ, he realized he knew nothing! And that might be the best antidote of all: to believe we know nothing. That way, we might learn something. So, let's stop being know-it-alls and become learn-it-alls. Everything will be better for it.

May the Spirit be with you.

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