Lent 2012 – A time to grow and learn

In previous years I have observed the 46 days of Lent by giving up big things like Religion or Fear. Apparently my Lent post has turned into an annual event for some people as I was asked twice on Fat Tuesday where my Big Lent post was. Well here it is. For Lent, I am giving up the assumption that people are dumb.

Since last Lent I have joined the workforce at Google and have been surrounded by brilliant people who think drastically differently than I do. That workforce is also sustained by us normal people who think things simply because. Despite (or maybe because of) Google’s reputation of hiring the best & brightest (just ask one of these books) and being the top company to work for in 2012, there are still plenty of times when I catch myself calling out to the heavens and wondering “what this idiot was thinking.”

I have seen this attitude in myself most recently because I see it happen in my coworker who usually adds an expletive in the midst of that phrase. I catch myself thinking that I know best, that I know how things are supposed to go, that I am right without giving true credence to the thoughts of others and their point of view. It makes me come across as an arrogant prick and I want to try and curb this mentality while I still can, lest I turn into a megalomanic.

To be fair, I have never been given many opportunities to be humbled at my lack of knowledge in a given area. I started out elementary school in program for the Gifted and Talented where I was in-between a 3rd & 4th grade level by the time I finished 1st grade. I coasted through school and even passed an AP exam in History after minimal study on a plane 2 days before and having never taken the class. It wasn’t until I was in college that I felt out of my league and that I actually had to work, but since coming out I either forgot that humbling freshman year or have chalked it up to my tumultuous time coming out that followed in lock-step. After collage I was able to find a job quickly, especially considering the lack of a job market in 2009, and from there earn a promotion and then leave the company to join Google.

Clearly I have not had the chance to have the world beat me down in order to become humble and so this lent, it is my attempt to do that to myself because I see that I could use it sometimes. This one is going to be a bit trickier than my last couple of Lenten practices as I am not giving something up fully (the thought) but attempting to successfully curb entirely the physical manifestation of this. I am going to track over the next 10 days how many times I think or say a comment that demeans someone else’s intelligence, either in-person or in-private. After collecting the data I am going to try and bring down the number of times I say something down to 0 while reducing the thoughts by ~75% so that I can show marketed improvement.

This may turn out to be a total flop, but likely will help me grow and learn as a person and as my Birthday falls into Lent I figured this is a good enough opportunity to mature and grow this season.