I recently had lunch with my youngest brother Andrew and was impressed with where his head is at now. He has had a rough time in his early twenties, but it looks like he’s turning things around now at age 26.
I was an idiot in my early twenties.
I don’t mean I wasn’t intelligent. I was. But I felt like I was on top of the world. That I knew everything. That I was smarter than most. That I was better informed than most. That my views and opinions couldn’t possibly be wrong or were even likely to change in the future.
I was impulsive and arrogant.
I expected my coworkers to know what I knew and didn’t hide my frustration when they didn’t. I was mostly fine to work with, but I could be a miserable prick at times. I remember a manager sitting down with me and asking me to adjust my attitude. Although I was too arrogant to take her advice immediately, it did sink in over time.
I think I’ve come a long way since then.
Although still tempting, I try not to judge people or their ideas immediately. Instead, I dive deeper, ask them questions, try to find out more about their thought process.
I know I’m probably not the smartest person in the room. I know that I don’t know everything. I know that what I learn tomorrow can completely change the views and opinions I’ve formed today.
I try to remind myself of the cognitive biases?that I struggle with most often. I feel like I’ve reached a stage in my life where I’m more aware of my personal flaws (and even my human flaws) than I ever have been. This awareness is helping me make better decisions and just be a better person.
Don’t get me wrong. I still struggle. I still forget and make snap judgements now and then. I still get frustrated when the expectations I have of people turn out to be unreasonable.
But I struggle less often than I used to. And when I do, I realize sooner, and correct it sooner.
I often wonder if I’ll look back in ten years and see this version of me as an idiot as well. All I can do is continue to identify my flaws and strive to correct them. Hacking away at improving my character and becoming wiser.
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