There you have it, 200 posts. It has taken me longer to get there: the ﬁrst 100 were driven partly by the novelty of blogging. The second 100 combined a bit more of my daily life along with my traditional subjects, probably yours truly opening up and becoming more familiar with the medium.
I’m not sure how the blogging cycle will go with the next 100, although I would say the second 100 is more indicative. Like Bond ﬁlms, the ﬁrst three were about ﬁnding a formula; the subsequent bunch, by and large, were rehashes.
Sometimes, however, wisdom comes in everyday things. Daily life is full of gems, if you want to ﬁnd them.
I keep going on about dialogue through blogging, creating understanding between cultures. In this blog’s second week, I linked to numerous Muslim blogs, revealing that Muslims were just as concerned about protests started by extremist groups as, say, Fox News was. These people wrote how these groups did not represent them. And they needed to: given the comments I had received, there are people who were ignorant of the views of the mainstream Islamic world. Those people equated the actions of the extremists with those of everyday people—a similar sin would be saying that Timothy McVeigh was typical of Americans. When the ignoramuses read these other blogs, I can only hope they became less prejudiced, and better informed.
Dialogue also helps clear up things in one’s own head. Today, I chatted to one of our former interns, Belinda, about wisdom. Belinda is 20, and a nice lass—though like a lot of people her age, she feels that her elders are smarter than she is. However, she is beginning to discover that adults aren’t always that bright. She has just started a business course, discovering people 25 years her senior were asking rather daft questions.
I said to Belinda that oftentimes, wisdom does not come with age. Wisdom resides in all of us. Wisdom—the wisdom a child might have when saying, ‘How come those two people suing each other don’t just talk?’—is not exclusive to the aged. Experience is what we do not have when we are young, but that does not mean that experienced viewpoints are the best.
What experience teaches us (and why we should respect our elders) is which paths do not work. Experience gives us roadmaps; it tells us where the institutions in society hold up how we wish to get from A to B. Experience teaches us to avoid those obstacles. Experience teaches us how some people lie or use euphemisms. Experience ﬁne-tunes our BS meters.
If we stripped every problem down to the basic issues, there would be no need for a lot of our institutions. For example, in the case of a lawsuit, the basic issue is a disagreement and the need for an impartial third party to make a decision. If that third party was respected enough, there would actually be no need for lawyers—or registrars, stenographers, or even jury members. We would return to the village and the tribal elder. We would sort it out at a marae.
The lawyer, I told her, is not necessarily interested in solving a problem. The good ones are, but equally there are those who are there to increase billable hours, get a proﬁle, look like they are productive in front of the client, and boost their egos. I have seen some documents on a few cases I am working on which indicate that justice is the last thing on the lawyers’ minds.
So, I told Belinda, she should never lose her ideals. Whatever desires she has for her future, she needs to hang on to. Experienced mouths might tell her that they are unattainable. But re-examining that, all it means is learning which paths have not worked in the past. The ideals are still valid, but she simply needs to take another route to achieve them.
Finding that new route is the path of the pioneer, the successful person. I gave her the example of the couple who travelled from Oxford, England to Oxford, New Zealand, driving an old Morris Oxford. Belinda, one day, might travel, like a lot of New Zealanders her age. I gave her the Oxford example as one where two young people got to see the world without going a conventional route.
The only thing experience gave me was a set of skills to help Belinda be more conﬁdent and alert to the fact that she is already wise. We all learn different things: I learned how to inspire and motivate. And I hope she learned today that her age is no handicap and that her ideals should be maintained. I would say the same thing to all right-thinking young people out there.
Del.icio.us tags: experience age wisdom Posted by Jack Yan, 10:21
Good post, Jack. You do realise you're starting to sound old though :)
It was a couple of years ago that I first worked with people 10 years younger than me. That came as a shock.
Since then, I've looked back at some of the stuff I wrote or recorded as a late teens early twenties kind of guy. Some of it is shockingly naive about life, but much of it I still agree with.
Good on you for encouraging the young 'uns!
Yeah, I know. There were two things that made me feel old recently. The ﬁrst was a mate went back to uni and asked for some of my notes. He asked if I could deliver them to the campus. I walked up there and thought I was Big Man on Campus, and that I could totally cane any course thrown at me. And I said so to my friend, which might not have made his task any easier being an adult learner!
Secondly, a friend had a 37th birthday party and I looked around at my peers. One friend (who shall remain nameless) is beginning to grey and he and I are roughly the same age—which means I must be getting older, too! As for the birthday girl, I realized she had to tick another box on the forms compared with me: I could still tick 25–34 but she couldn’t.
But considering I see girls in their mid-20s I don’t feel quite as bad …
I think fundamentally, whatever we wrote 10 or 15 years ago would have similar principles and we can remember our internal dialogue at the time. I look back at some stuff—say those early posts on Gordon’s group—and think I was naïve as well, but when I really think about it, I was the same guy with the same heart and the same sense of right and wrong—which is no bad thing.
My favorite lines from this post:
"Sometimes, however, wisdom comes in everyday things. Daily life is full of gems, if you want to ﬁnd them."
So true, and a fine example of your wisdom. Thanks for reminding me.
Thank you, Jeff! That’s mighty kind of you. We are all wise.Post a Comment
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