We All Have Gifts to Give
I see this paradox play out every day. People tend to place a high value on knowledge, skills, and experiences that they lack while completely undervaluing what they already possess.
This drives me absolutely batshit crazy. Why? Because people put in a tremendous amount of time, effort, and resources to make the difficult seem effortless, but then they confuse effortless with worthless. They can fix a car or a computer or teach an instrument or how to train a pet. There are literally thousands of people Google searching right now to learn those skills or fix those problems. Yet, we've already discounted ourselves because it's not our full-time profession. Yes, there is a ton of value in being licensed and certified, and we should respect those situations 100%.
However, I always like to use the analogy of a K-12 school. A student in 6th grade can learn from a 9th grader while mentoring a 3rd grader. We can simultaneously be learning from those ahead of us while helping those earlier on their own journey. The fact that we're not as far along as the 9th grader does not devalue how much we can give to a 3rd grader. In fact, to the 3rd grader, a 6th grader probably has much empathy with what the 3rd grader is currently going through.
Now recognize that you can be an expert in one field (engineering) and a novice in another (car repair). And you may find people that are the exact opposite. We can simultaneously share our gifts while receiving them from others. This is how we can work together to achieve greatness as a community.
But this can't happen if everyone involved thinks they have nothing of value to give. What a tragedy that we are full of gifts and believe that others won't see the value in them. We all have gifts to give if we can honestly see them for what they are.
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About Rick Manelius
Quick Stats: CXO of Atomic Form. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.