We live in a world full of stupidity. Stupid acts done by stupid people with stupid motives. Forrest Gump said it best, “Stupid is as stupid does.” People get very upset about this reality, but there's nothing we can do about it. What makes them stupid? Their willingness to be wise in their own eyes. Anyone living on planet earth knows they are not the center of the universe. Unfortunately, stupid people believe and act as if they are, and that's woeful. Isaiah 5:20 is one of my favorite verses: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
You can correct ignorance, however. How is ignorance different than stupidity, you may ask? Ignorance is not willful. There are plenty of things we know we don't know. But we intrinsically own the fact that we are works in progress and try and learn something new and unlearn something old every day. So, when we hear the word "Woe," we ignorant people go, "Whoa!" we need to adjust our thinking or behaviors.
Here's a humorous example: A savvy executive hired a new employee. On the first morning, the new hire reported for work, the executive handed him a broom and said, "I like my people to learn this business from the ground up. I’d like you to begin today by sweeping the work area.” The new employee was offended. He said, “What! You want me to sweep the work area? I have a graduate degree in management from a famous university.” The executive responded, “Oh, that's right…. I should have known. Give me the broom, and I'll show you how to sweep the work area.”
I have professionally pivoted at least seven times in my career, taking different roles in different industries. I was well aware that I had to prepare to do work in the future for which I did not have the present skills to accomplish. How did I do this?
First, I recognized my ignorance. I knew that for all I knew, there was so much more I had yet to learn. So, I made myself like a sponge and sought the best and brightest to work alongside and study. This admission is rooted in humility.
Second, I insisted on pursuing higher degrees and certifications to hone my skills for increased responsibility. Getting a Ph.D. in leadership was a no-brainer (😊) for me because I knew I had to learn everything I could about motivating followers. This realization is rooted in intentionality.
Third, I am on a diet of reading personal and spiritual development material for at least three hours daily. This steady influx of pure wisdom and fresh inspiration has kept my heart humble, and my soul refreshed. This truth is rooted in sanctity.
As leaders, we are in a race with no finish line. Therefore, we must be in a perpetual state of developmental readiness. We must stay thirsty for knowledge and never be dehydrated. This living water metaphor is the motivation behind my father's creation of the Life-Changing Classics series and my updated version, the Tremendous EDGE series. So don’t worry about the stupid that surrounds us. It is what it is selfish, undisciplined, and worldly. Instead, focus on curing your ignorance and living a tremendous life!
I get to deal with such people all the time. People who take advantage of the breaks they are given, and then never accept help when help is offered to them. I just have to play this game for a little more time, but then a time will come when I can weed myself out of this job and really start enjoying what I do.