February 22, 2011
You think you know…but you have NO IDEA!
Wise Man Listens RSContinuing our series “What’s the Wise Thing to Do?” – last week’s lesson (I’m about a week behind on writing these posts) was with regard to how do you make decisions when you don’t actually know what the wise thing to do is? What do you do when you don’t have any experiences to draw from…or your decision could be clouded by a lot of emotion? 

If you’d like to hear the original message, CLICK HERE to download the mp3 file. 

Did you ever watch “Diary…” on MTV (not that I would endorse watching MTV – I think it’s pretty trashy, but I did watch it from time to time when I was quite a bit younger)? The opening line was “You think you know, but you have no idea.” From what I remember, a camera crew would follow a celebrity around to give their viewers a more complete picture of what that person’s life really looks like…the idea being that we only thought we knew what being a celebrity was like.

I know that I would like to believe that if I were in any other person’s shoes that the decisions I made would be no different than the decisions I make as Ashley Sisk. However, we all find ourselves in situations where we really have no idea what the “right decision” looks like. For example, if you’ve ever fallen in love…you recall how difficult it was to think clearly. Another example…have you ever wanted something to happen so much that you more or less willed it to happen?

Unfortunately, when we’re so emotional that we can’t see straight (positive or negative) it’s really difficult to make wise decisions. Think back to your biggest regrets – more times than not, you made a decision during an emotional time in your life. And granted, those unwise decisions were critical learning moments for me (as I’m sure they were for you), but as you recall from a couple of weeks ago, unwise decisions do not come without consequence. Wise or unwise…we live with the decisions we make forever.

We might also make unwise decisions because we simply don’t have the experience to make a certain decision, and yet we feel responsible for making a particular decision (you’re the manager, mom, point person, etc.).
The truth is that wise people know what they don’t know and they’re not afraid to ask for help.  

Wise people don’t pretend or fake it – they recognize when they’re clouded by emotion or when they don’t have enough experience to ask for help. One of my professors shared with me that I didn’t have to know it all, I just had to know where to find an answer…GENIUS. In fact, whenever someone asks me a photography related question…most times, I go into my long list of saved resources to find an answer...or I just “GOOGLE it.”

Proverbs 1:5 says, “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.”

Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” This particular verse reminds me of being a teenager. I was convinced that my parents were fools and didn’t know what they were talking about. I’ve later learned that they actually knew what they were talking about.

All things considering, seeking out wise counsel makes good common sense…
  1. Most of the decisions we make in private will eventually become public knowledge. For example, if you decide in private that you’re going to buy a house or you’re going to ask someone out on a date, that information will eventually be public. I’d like to think that I wouldn’t do anything or say anything that I wouldn’t want to be made public. Consider the recent publicity surrounding Facebook as just one example. Very few things are private anymore.
  2. Most of the decisions we make privately and independently are judged by the people around us. And as much as we don’t want to admit it, we all talk about our friends and family to some degree or another…even if we don’t mean to be passing judgment.
  3. Most of the decisions we make privately and independently affect other  people – this is the one that makes the most sense to me. Every decision we make as a parent, spouse, etc will affect others. 
So, if the decisions we are making privately and independently are going to eventually affect other people, then why wouldn’t we want to get input from those other people before a decision is made. In the corporate world, I call this “buy-in.” No one likes to be told what they’re going to do…and no one likes living by the decisions other people make without their input. If you want to reduce a lot of unnecessary brain damage, involve others in the decision making process. If at a later time, they don’t like an outcome, there is no blame game.

With that said…
  • NO ONE is so successful that they no longer need wise counsel (or no longer need to ask another person for help). Every WISE person knows their own limitations. 
  • You will never be able to reach your full potential until you utilize the wisdom of others (for my photography friends…if you never take a course, never ask for constructive criticism, never shoot outside of your comfort zone, etc…you may eventually notice progress by doing it your own way, but you’ll learn much faster if you ask for help). 
  • Wise counsel often comes from unlikely sources. Do not be tempted to discount wisdom that doesn’t come in the form of someone “better/above/more successful” than us. I think children are the greatest example. I don’t have children of my own yet, but I often consider whether or not I’d want my child to hear me say ______ or see my do ______.

So, the next time you find yourself in an emotional or intense situation…or you have a decision to make and don’t know where to start…ask for help! And if you’re the one being asking for help…and you don’t know the answer, be wise enough to know your own limitations.

Have a great Tuesday – I’m linking up with Scripture & a Snapshot and Hear it on Sunday…Use it on Monday!