I carry a burden.
Sometimes, people ask for my opinion on stuff. I can only assume that they intend to heed my advice, otherwise why would they ask?
That’s the burden. My advice, answers, perspectives, thoughts, and even emotions can be a pretty serious contemplation – especially knowing that future generations will in some small way follow my lead. That’s a lot for one man to carry.
On the upside, I always know I’m right, so there’s comfort in that.
Now, you might be saying ‘Wow – what an ego on that guy!‘, but that’s not true. In fact, I pride myself on my humility.
The thing is, if I thought I was wrong, I wouldn’t offer advice. None of us would, unless you were some sort of psychopath and deliberately gave people bad advice just to mess with them.
Your opinion is the currency of how others appreciate your wisdom and intelligence.
There are times of course, that I may have no opinion at all. If I was asked if I preferred knitting or crocheting, I would have no clue, since I neither knit nor crochet. In this case, I would be confident in saying ‘I have no opinion on that topic. You should ask someone else’.
Even in saying that, I’m showing that I’m correct in my advice…to not take my advice.
See how that works? But it’s not always that simple. Sometimes, I will be asked for my advice then have it questioned. I don’t know why. If someone wanted my opinion, why then would they choose not to take it?
Let me give you a hypothetical example that in no way reflects any actual events. Let’s pretend that my lovely wife is picking out a dress for a party. She holds up 2 outfits and says; “The red dress, or the blue one?” She’s asking my opinion, presumably because she understands that I have some fashion credibility and she clearly wants to look her best standing next to me. I need all the help I can get.
I tell her “The blue one”. That should be it, right? Asked and answered. Conversation over, decision made, I’ll be waiting in the car. You’re welcome.
“Really?”, she’ll then say. What? Why is she questioning my decision? Even if I was’t paying attention or watching TV when she asked, I’d have at least a 50/50 shot at getting it right – pretty good odds.
“Why the blue one?“, she would go on to ask. Uh, oh. Not only has my input been brought into question, now I’m being asked to back up my decision with facts.
“Because I like the blue one on you”…I may leave out the fact that we’re already late and the blue one looks like it doesn’t need ironing. This is how I balance promptness and self-preservation.
“But the red one goes better with my shoes”. Now we’re treading into deep waters. If I rescind my original decision about the blue dress, I soil my reputation as being decisive and correct, and my currency begins to devalue. On the other hand, if I hold fast, we may miss the hors d’oeuvres altogether.
“Okay, the red dress does look better with those shoes. Wear the red dress.” I reply. This doesn’t negate my previous position on the dress. New information was brought to my attention after the fact, which changed my position. Good judgement still intact, and my currency stays afloat. My reputation for promptness however, will be pocked, but sometimes you just gotta go with it, right?
“But you liked the blue one better.” Sheesh!
“Not with those shoes.” I should play more chess – I’m a genius!
“Maybe I should wear the blue dress and pick out another pair of shoes”. Touche! This is no longer an opportunity to offer input, but a battle of the minds. I wished I had grabbed a snack when I had the chance.
This hypothetical tarry could go on for hours…hypothetically. But that’s the point of my dilemma. If I’m asked my opinion, I offer it and expect that to be taken with the utmost consideration. That’s not always the case. Sometimes, my opinion is nothing more than an opportunity to be an external ‘internal voice’ to be questioned, rebutted, and occasionally outright rejected.
That’s a hard pill to swallow when you’re always right. You put real thought into offering your input. When it’s questioned or rejected, it makes you just a bit less sure of yourself. And that’s dangerous. The acceptance of your opinion bolsters your currency. If it’s discarded, it makes you less valuable, doesn’t it?
On the other hand, if you know you’re always right – like I do – maybe it’s more of a reflection on those who reject your input that on your wisdom (previous hypothetical scenario notwithstanding). But that’s just my opinion.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, my wife wore a black dress, looked beautiful in it, and we missed the hors d’oeuvres. Hypothetically.