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!


    Another wonderful message. Thanks for sharing. So true about asking for help. I wouldn’t be where I am today without your help and help from others. Thanks! Beautiful photo and scripture.

    Thankful for the wise words of others! Thankful for HIS wisdom that always leads us on the right path! Beautiful shot and verse together!

    Wonderful!! I agree – kids will tell it to you straight and keep you honest! :)

    Good advice, Ashley. :)

    I love this Ashley! Well done

    It made me think of the quote : A wise man is a fool with a good memory.” Not sure who to attribute this too, but it is similar to Ecclesiates 2:16

    So, so true. (I’m gonna download the file b/c this comes up a lot at church and in my Bible study.) And, I love that photo.

    I don’t think it could be better said. I’ve had to learn that it’s OK to ask for help and guidance. I’m very stubborn and used to think I’d failed somehow if I needed to ask. I have to tell myself over and over “It’s OK to ask”

    I used to joke that my greatest asset and worse trait was my independence. Funny how much easier theings became when I learned to ask for help. Great post.

    very wise words!

    love this post.

    Save these Proverbs posts and in a year or two you will have a book!

    This was outstanding. Yes, decisions made in public very often become quite public – even some we wish wouldn’t! Good incentive here to give thought to our actions/decisions and to seek help.


    Great post!!

    “Wise people know what they don’t know and are not afraid to ask for help.” < – That is SO TRUE! Great quote. :)

    So true! This Point:

    “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.”

    Really hits home to me. If I had thought about this when I was younger I would not be in the situation that I am in now. Thanks for the message!

    Beautiful post, this is So True. It can be so hard to ask for help or to admit that you need it, your scripture quote definitely puts it into perspective!
    I hope all is well for you! I thought of you when I signed up for a photography class, or more like a how to use your camera class LOL. I want to take some awesome photos like you! Have a great day!

    I love this series. Every time I read a post I find myself thinking about it days later.

    Well said, Ashley. A wise person is teachable; he increases in learning; he doesn’t mind being rebuked, because he is humble and realizes that he needs correction. A fool, on the other hand, does not receive correction well, and in fact is angry. He is not teachable – he thinks he knows it all!

    May we all humble ourselves and learn from each other!

    Blessings to you…

    I really enjoy this series! Thanks!! :)

    First off, I love that picture. Secondly, I love this message. Thank you for sharing. :)

    I’m really enjoying this series! Thank you for posting!

    What a great post and filled with so much truth! It’s hard for me to ask for help, but it’s something I’m working. Often, I pretend I can do it all on my own and find myself swamp. It’s not only important to have a Higher Power guide you in these cases, but a strong support system as well.

    Very nice post ashley. It is sometimes hard to listen and hear advice too… you are right though, if we are open, wisdom can come from the most unexpected people and situations.

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I love it. This is my first time visiting your blog, but I’ll be back :)


    A great post, Ashley!

    This is really a great post Ashley. You have a really wonderful style of writing and the lesson here is so well-put. It can be quite a humbling experience to be the person to ask for help and guidance, but often reaps the biggest rewards.
    Isn’t it funny how we thought we knew everything as teenagers? I used to think my mom was clueless, only to grow up and rely on her counsel for most of my adult life decisions!

    Truly wise words here, Ashley. And you know what else I’ve learned in the workplace? To admit when I’m wrong or when I’ve made a mistake. I always respect a person who can admit, “Yeah, I totally dropped the ball. And I apologize!” rather than the person who tries to cover up the error or worse, blame someone else!

    Thanks so much for linking this great post up with Hear It, Use It — so glad you came by!

    I’m going to spend some time at your place…it looks like you have some spectactular photography going on here!

    Great thoughts, lady!

    I think you make a great point about private things eventually becoming public knowledge. I think maintaining that mindset is a great way for people (okay, me!) to keep themselves in check.

    This is such a beautiful photo – I found myself just staring at it. Love your blog!

    such true words -
    and that photo is a keeper -
    I love it -
    you are still an inspiration to me to get out there!!

    So true! Love the photo!

    Very true! We should always be seeking wisdom — first from God, then from others wiser than us! (including kids who aren’t jaded yet! :)

    Sorry it took me so long to get to this…. Love reading these and finding what nuggets you’ll be sharing! Just can’t always make it timely! lol!

    Wonderful that I’m reading this on a day when I really need to be reading this. The Lord works in wonderful ways. Thanks for sharing this, Ashley. It had an impact on my day ;)