Have you ever found yourself in the uncomfortable position of thinking you know more than you actually do? Even worse, being adamant that you know more than you really do in a public setting? Years ago, in my pursuit of higher education, I was required to take an introductory English class. The focus was writing. Our first assignment was a word association essay. I chose to write about cows. Keep in mind I grew up on a dairy farm, feeding calves for a large part of my formative years, so I felt pretty confident in my knowledge of cows. Long story short we were discussing cows in class one day and the teacher pointed out that cows needed to have calves every couple of years to keep their milk supply up. I told her that no, they didn’t need to. We went back and forth about who was right and finally she moved on. After that class I started thinking about it from a logical point of view. Of course cows would need to have calves to maintain a milk supply. I just had never thought of farming in that light before. I had always focused so much on the calves that I didn’t even consider the cows role in the process.
How many times do you get too focused on what you think you know? I recently ran across this image:
When we see the magnified view of life in the day to day interactions we often miss the big picture. Let’s say I see Margaret at the grocery store. I know she sees me but instead of saying hi she hurries to another aisle. In my magnified view, I am certain she avoided me. In my big picture view I might have seen that she was embarrassed that she had no make up on and was wearing the same shirt she wore yesterday.
Even when we think we know, we often really don’t know.