The Poverty of Arrogance

child holding treasureWhy don’t people collect skills, knowledge and experience like rare artifacts? Why don’t they hunt for them like buried treasure? The smart ones do. I watched a sharpshooting competition on tv where two contestants were offered coaching by an expert before the final showdown. One contestant acted as though the instructor was an annoying child dabbling in things he didn’t understand. This particular competitor was a champion pistol shooter. Apparently he had gathered all the nuggets of wisdom and experience he wanted and was satisfied that he had found them all. This sort of arrogance amazes me!  I’ve learned things, important, valuable things, from people with half my years and experience. In the same way that one person searching a treasure site for a few minutes happens upon an incredible find where others searching for hours have found nothing. If a skill or certain knowledge is valuable, does it matter who or where it comes from?

What if, in our professional development, we acted more like collectors? What if, when we found a gem to add to our knowledge and experience, we became the wide-eyed child as we eagerly added it to our collection rather than grab at our wounded ego because we didn’t find it first. Arrogance can cost you plenty and you may not even realize what you’ve lost.

In your professional development, start collecting the skills you need like precious gems. Practice them. Add some more and practice those. Then find someone better than you and aim at their skill level, then do it all over again. Collect the knowledge needed to make that skill better, more polished, then add even more. Look for those little nuggets of skill and knowledge everywhere, like priceless treasure. Never stop collecting, even from unlikely people and places. Gain confidence from your collection but not arrogance. The difference can be costly.


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