what gives you the right?

I have a question for you…

Can you be the resident expert at something you are technically a failure at?

I am dubbed the computer guy of the family because I work in IT, and have done web development type projects. So the other day I was talking to a family member about an e-businesses. Since I have a little experience in the area, of course I had a plethora of information to share. Now granted my ventures haven’t blowupchuated (© A. Ashley), but I have learned a lot along the way. I wouldn’t say I was a failure, but I have not discovered the next Amazon nor eBay either.

So back to this conversation. Midway into our chat, I felt like I was in one of those father zones…those places like when I teach my sons from the mistakes I made when I played football. In some respects, I wonder how much help I really was by the time I gave numerous warnings about what not to do. Then while that cog was turning in my mind and I fell into a 30 second pity me festival, I thought to myself – What gives me the right to give advice in an area where I am not successful? You know those quick ruts you fall in when you reflect on all your mistakes, and are hard on yourself and the (bad) decisions you’ve made.

From this question I posed to myself, I went into one of those King’s Island headache-type thought rollercoasters (personal joke with the mrs).

How can you give someone advice about finances if you are in debt? How can you teach me about Jujitsu if you have never studied marital arts? How can you give marital advice if you are divorced? How can you teach me about home ownership and you live in an apartment? How can you convince me to purchase mutual funds, stocks and bonds when you have never invested yourself? How can an unsaved person teach me about Christianity? How can you be my spiritual leader and your own household is falling apart? How can someone from an opposite race teach me about my own culture?

When you really sit back and think about it, how could they not teach you? I can see arguments from both angles, but I believe (in some way) there is something to be learned form everybody.

What do you think?

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2 responses to “what gives you the right?

  1. This is a very interesting topic because I have thought about it before too. Just like you I can see both sides to that question.
    You could asked Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Pat Ewing – what does it take to win a NBA Championship? None of these players have won NBA Championships. Charles Barkeley and Karl Malone played in the NBA Finals and Pat Ewing’s New York Knicks made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.

    My question – do that make them not qualified to comment on what it takes to win a NBA Championship? All of the players I mentioned spent 10 plus years in the NBA and all will be induced in the NBA Hall Of Fame in Springfield, MA. Actually, Karl Malone is the second all time leading score in the NBA.

    I am just using basketball as a metaphor but same apply to this situation. See, just because you are not successful at a particular craft do not mean that you do not have any valuable insight or input. It do not take success but experience to be able to provide or give someone advice on a certain subject matter.

    We are have our strenghs and weakness. It is just some people have more strengh in certain areas than other. Just do not take advice from just anybody. For example, do not go to a medical doctor and ask him/her to drop an engine in your whip…LOL. Okay, that was a little extreme.

    Straight up, think about David and Coach Roland. They did not play in the league but they have crazy knowledge about football. I know it is your boy, Leroy but hell Coach Roland did not win city title after city title but he is seasoned. Coach Roland did play semi-pro football, coached at the high school and junior high leve, and coached young kids. We going to say his record is 12-42 with one city football title but that would not stop me from seeking him for advice in that field. Success is not always about the numbers (of course it help & i would not rule it out) but experience stands for something too.

  2. I’m with Will on this one. He sited some real good examples with Chuck Barkley and the Mailman. Like Will said, I never played in the league, but I can talk X’s and O’s with the best of them. I think it is about your makeup as a person. I mean some of us are able to soak up things mentally and physically better than others. Folks call that God-give talent I guess. So to answer you question, I think it is possible to be an expert at something and you are a technical failure at.

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