Smartest Man in the World

When I got out the Navy, I went to work for my father’s electrical construction company.  My father had formed the company with a partner – Ken.  They had worked together in various firms during my growing up years, and I had known Ken since early childhood.

One day I was riding in the truck with Ken and we passed a water tower that was still under construction.  We talked about the estimated dimensions of the tank portion, diameter, height, etc…  I did some back of the envelope calculations, determining number of cubic feet, and then factoring in how many gallons of water could be contained in a cubic foot.  I then pronounced the tank should hold 1,333,478 (who remembers the actual number?) gallons of water.  Weeks passed, and one day Ken confronts me with, “You must be the smartest man in the world!  They just announced the completion of that water tower and your estimate was less than 50 gallons off.”

Of course, that made me feel pretty good, even though it was pretty obvious I wasn’t the smartest man in the world.  Maybe the second smartest, but not number one.

All kidding aside, I recently began wondering what would happen if people received the proper encouragement in their labor, instead of criticism, or no acknowledgment at all?  What would happen if, instead, people received the proper encouragement?

I’ve had many bosses in my career.  Some commanding, some mentoring, and some who worked from a viewpoint of encouragement.  What I found, was that I would work myself to death for those who found ways to encourage rather than belittle or berate.  Those who always criticized would get exactly what they demanded, but not much more.  Those that encouraged, and mentored, a whole lot more.

But, aren’t there negatives associated with encouragement?  Won’t people get arrogant and self-centered when praised too much?

This is a common belief, but one which, I’m pretty sure, is not rooted in truth.  While there may be some who take encouragement and turn it into something unwise, the majority of folks have been so starved of encouragement or approval, they will shine like the stars if given proper acknowledgement and credit for their accomplishments.  Life is full of enough disappointments that we don’t have to heap even more on their shoulders, by being critical.

In the world today, the value of the common person is not seen with proper perspective.  We get mixed up with a billion others, and our worth becomes dubious.  If we are missing, then someone is quick to step in and take our place.  Our individual worth and contribution is in question.

But, that is not the way God designed us.  To Him it is pretty clear that each individual has worth, has something unique to contribute.  Each individual is not made up of just one part, but many.  Individuals do more than a single thing, they do many things.  And while, there may be those who are better than we are at any single thing, there is not another person on the planet that can do ‘everything’ we do, and do it better.  For, you are unique – and the things you do, the things you contribute, the ideas you have, the solutions to problems you put forth, are all unique to you.  While some may be able to do some of the things you do, no one can do everything you do, and do them as well as you do.

To illustrate my point, I will use my own abilities as a way of clarifying my point.  View this following list in this way – in order for someone else to be Chuck Patterson they are going to have to exhibit these talents or abilities.  As the list increases, the number of people in the world who can still compete with me dwindles until there is only one person who fits the following qualfications:

  1. I play the guitar
  2. I sing
  3. I create software for computers
  4. I design electronic circuit boards
  5. I write blogs
  6. I teach Bible classes
  7. I’ve been a pastor
  8. I’ve been a CE Minister
  9. I served in the Armed Forces
  10. I served during Vietnam
  11. I raised 4 children
  12. I’ve been married 41 years to the same woman
  13. I was fortunate to have been born in the United States
  14. I have lived in California, New Jersey, and Texas
  15. I built treehouses when I was growing up
  16. I’m a licensed Ham Radio operator
  17. I was an Energy Management expert
  18. I designed a complete energy management system
  19. I dropped out of High School before graduation
  20. All the jobs I’ve held since 1982 have required a minimum Masters Degree
  21. With my wife we create packages for the poor
  22. I’m self-employed as a contractor to my own corporation
  23. I have no brothers, but I have 4 sisters

Of course, that is just a partial list, but I suspect that even with only a partial list of qualifications and requirements there is only one person in the entire world of 7 billion souls that fills each requirement as well as I do – me.

Maybe you need to list some of the things you do, and see how many other people could do exactly the same thing, with the same experience, and same background.  That’s right – only one.

So, my friend, whoever you are, just remember you are unique, and you truly may be the smartest man or woman in the world with the same qualifications as you have.  There is no one who can take your place, or do exactly the things you do.  You truly can make a difference.

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One Response to “Smartest Man in the World”

  1. Bea McGuire Says:

    Wow! You do sound like the smartest man in the world! All kidding aside, I ONCE AGAIN, LOVED THIS BLOG! I usually pray daily that God would help me to be an “encourager” so when I read this blog it made me smile. I really did begin to pray that about a year ago. I love the look on an individual’s face when I am encouraging them. I can also tell when it’s working. Blessings to you and your family and I’m proud to say, “Hey, I know that guy!” 🙂

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