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.
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...