Congratulations Class of 2017. The fruits of your hard work these past years are about to come to fruition.
As a college student one semester away from graduation, this time is a very exciting one, preparing to move on to the next big stage of your life–anxious of what it will be like, what you will do or even the people you will meet along the way.
However, I believe there is an important step (after celebration of course) that we must do in order to prepare ourselves for the unknown roads ahead.
We need to do one thing: Admit we don’t know that much.
“But I just spent four years at a university! I have spent time learning the things I am passionate about!”
Yes, I understand that, I am doing the same thing. However, we don’t know that much.
What Do You Know?
Out of my time at college, with all the classes, late-night assignments, new relationships and learning opportunities, this one lesson as overshadowed them all.
I came into college with a bold and brash attitude, ready to show everyone who I was and how I was the man. I knew I had several years of ministry experience; going on many retreats, mission trips, you name it. I was ready to grace everyone with my astounding knowledge of all that I had learned. I was ready to teach my peers—and even my professors—a thing or two.
Where did that get me? It left me struggling. Wrestling with something I hadn’t experienced before. People would disagree with things I said. Professors would ask me deep questions that I wasn’t sure how to answer. People presented ideas and perspectives of their own, from their experiences.
I was a fish out of water. I didn’t know what to do. Everything I believed in, everything I thought I knew was being questioned. And I wanted to push back harder. I spent hours researching information to throw back at my accusers and naysayers, getting personal in debates if real information could not be found.
This struggle finally stopped when a professor and now great friend of mine looked at me and said, “Clayton, you don’t know that much.”
How dare he! I have seen things! I have had multiple experiences! I know what I’m doing! But I really didn’t.
Many of us are people who crave a desire to make others jealous, to make ourselves seem like we have it all together. But we don’t.
We are young, inexperienced, uncultured, coming from more than likely one perspective or way of looking at things. We have to open ourselves to the idea that we need help.
My time at school shifted dramatically when I began to accept that fact. Once I laid down my pride and truly listened and learned from others. I asked questions about why people do or believe the things they do.
The Lesson for the Next Phase
Once we admit we don’t that much, we truly become learners. That is what our lives should be about: constantly learning and shaping ourselves and the world around us.
I’m not saying to lose your opinions, your passion or your stances on topics and situations. I’m saying, make it a habit to listen before you speak. Ask for help when you truly don’t know.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of maturity.
Listening allows us to learn from others who have been other places, seen other things. We need their help and wisdom for the betterment of our lives.
Whatever stage of life is ahead of you next, don’t forget to: 1.) Admit you don’t know that much. 2.) Become a learner. 3.) Ask for help. 4.) Listen.