Thursday, January 26, 2012

Descending Mount Stupid

As promised, I want to explain why I was so quiet on the blog last year.  While I've noted that there were lots of lessons learned through that time of transition, the lessons weren't learned immediately.  Through my actual experience of unemployment, for example, there were distinct phases in my confidence about how much I thought I knew about unemployment:

  Before I quit -- "I know exactly how this will go, and what unemployed people should do with their time."
  Right after I quit -- "Yep, this is working just like I thought."
  Two weeks after I quit -- "Hm, this isn't quite like I thought."
  A month after I quit -- "I was so clueless.  I know nothing about this.  Hope I didn't offend anybody with my earlier confidence."
  Another month later -- "Okay, so I wasn't totally clueless, but I was close.  I'm now so much more aware of my ignorance."

The genius cartoonist Zach Weiner over at Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal summed it up beautifully with a graph titled "Mount Stupid":

For the rest of 2011, I was descending Mount Stupid in a lot of areas:

  • Work -- I wasn't sure about my own career or next step, let alone what other people should be doing in a complicated 21st Century economy
  • Economics -- I studied a lot in this area during 2011.  And it finally made me feel a lot dumber.  None of the PhDs seem to be able to agree on anything, so how could an amateur like me offer a valuable opinion?
  • Faith -- I studied this some more as well and came away equally humbled.  Whether it was a look at doctrine, languages or cultural history I became amazed again at how little I knew about any of it. 
As I hit that trough in the valley after Mount Stupid, I became totally silent in that humility. 

And then I kept studying, kept learning, kept moving.  And while I may be ready once again to share some thoughts on topics such as faith and economics, I'll hopefully be doing so in a style that's more inquisitive than it is authoritative.

Because that graph doesn't show what happens as you keep moving to the right, but I think I know what comes next.  Yet another decline down Mount Stupid #2, and the cycle repeats...


Debby said...

I've been up and down that mountain LOTS of times...

Bob said...

I think we all have paid a visit to that mountain. And you know, before Moses went up that mountain where he got that little message from God, he was going up his own Mount Stupid telling God why he was unfit.

God is always there to help us down.

My verification word is "holyz."

Holy Z, Michael . . . glad you're back! Best wishes!

Tit for Tat said...

Its been a while, I think I needed to hear these words. Thanks. Good on you for your ability to see the bigger picture. :)