From time to time, I am contacted (or should I say accosted) by someone who is very enthusiastic about an idea – and they want my help.
Or at least, that’s what they say they want.
I start out by saying “Tell me your story”. I’ve found this works best since they’re going to tell me anyway. I try to patiently listen without interrupting. As I listen, I try to tune in not only to the substance of their idea, but I’ve also got my radar up to detect their motivation. Are they trying to seek the accolades of man or become a celebrity? Are they trying to get rich quick? Or, are they trying to offer a worthwhile service?
Eventually they run out of breath. Now it’s my turn.
Regardless of my assessment of the merit (or stupidity) of their idea, I start off with the same lecture.
Nobody on the Planet Thinks More of Your Idea Than You Do
It’s important to believe in your idea. But all too often it goes beyond healthy confidence. I try to get them to understand that as they share their idea with others (including me), do not expect them to fall head over heels in love with it. To illustrate the point, I ask them if they’ve even been in a social situation where someone there is a brand new grandparent. They have pictures; Lots of them; And they are pretty much all the same. At first, you may show genuine interest, but as the avalanche of picture continues interest becomes more like courtesy. As it continues, it becomes a bit irritating and you are looking for a way out.
Usually they connect with the idea and now I’ve set the stage to drop the bomb…
Everybody on the Planet Thinks Less of Your Idea Than You Do
I’m not trying to crush their spirit. I’m just trying to get them to do a reality check. Then I put a cushion under it. I congratulate them on seeking counsel.
The Time to Seek Counselors is BEFORE You Need Them
The wisdom of this verse depends upon the preexistence of a network of advisers. People who you are connected with and interact with regularly. People who know you at a deep level. People who you have a relationship with that is solid enough that they can tell you the truth – even if it hurts your feelings. It’s not some list that you dust off only on the occasions that you need it.
But there’s a problem.
We tend to surround ourselves with people who are like ourselves. This verse is not telling us to go out and cherry pick some folks that are predisposed to agree with us. That would be circumventing the benefit of the wisdom of this verse. Whether affirmation or criticism – it needs to be sincere – and we need to listen.
God may be speaking to us through them.
I’ve found that small group bible study is a good place to find advisers – and a whole lot more. Don’t wait until you have a need to plug yourself into a healthy support group of Christian Brothers and Sisters. And remember, you have a lot to offer them too!
That’s what I think. I’m interested in your thoughts. There’s lots of ways to hit me up so let me hear from you.
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