• Gene Tavernetti, Ed.D.

Easier said than done: Humility is a student's best look

I once wrote a short story about a young man who had been the victim of horrible physical and psychological bullying as he was growing up. *

The gist of the story is that the young man grows up seeking revenge on those who had tormented him. He chooses to learn, and become expert in, some arcane and totally useless skill because the skill is so obscure no one else is even close to his ability level.

As a way to get back at everyone who bullied and humiliated him while growing up, he tracks the bullies down one by one. Somehow he is able to work the conversation around to his very unique and expert skill. Then he challenges them to a contest in which the peculiar skill is necessary. The contest takes place. The victim humiliates his former bully. Then the victim moves on to repeat the process with another bully from his past.

*I am ashamed to say this sentence is an exaggeration. It is true I once began to write the story but never finished it. Because of an over-inflated estimation of my abilities, I decided the write the story without any knowledge of how to write a short story.

My thinking when I embarked on the writing of the story was simply, “How hard could it be? I have an idea. I start writing. Keep writing until it is done.” What an overinflated and totally unrealistic estimate of my current ability to write a story. Who am I to think I would be able to produce something worth reading without any knowledge of how to produce a well-written short story, nor even taking one moment to study the craft?

The corollary to the exaggeration of my ability is the total lack of respect for those who are skilled authors of short stories.

Morale: Find someone who does what you want to do, literally or in some informational medium (book, blog, webinar, YouTube video, etc.), and find out what they know that you do not. The easier the expert makes the skill look, the more skill they have. Be humble. Be a student.

#expert #humility #beastudent

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