I have the very annoying habit of thinking that I always know everything better.
Knowing everything better can be a real handicap during discussions, and on many occasions during my life, such a trait has placed unnecessary obstacles in my path. I do not know if I was just born that way or that I somehow was raised by society and my parents to believe it. More than likely it was a combination of the two. American culture demands that you are the best, that you are a winner and that you strive for first place and nothing less. Also, because I was such a nerd and did so well at school with straight A's all the time, they kept telling me that I was some kind of genius. Boy were they mistaken!
Also, I was always busying myself with other people's business, because I thought I was more qualified to do the job right. Certainly they could not do it. Here, just let me do it (take it completely over) for you. My sisters would joke about this attitude of mine. They were right when they needled me with their saying that I was "always trying to make things better but making them worse."
Here is an interesting example. My father was a doctor and inspired me alot. He was pretty smart and knew everything there was to know about medicine. On a technical level at least he had a mind like a steel trap, remembering everything, and I mean everything. There I was reading his medical texts and other study books, building models of the human body and drawing detailed schemas of various dissected organs and that sort of thing. Who was I kidding? I had models of the human brain, the eye, the inner ear, etc. I even built this mechanical heart that pumped blood-colored liquid to the various parts of the body. I tried to improve the pumping mechanism, but of course it didn't work that well any more and leaked all over the furniture. Always trying to make things better but making them worse. My favorite one was called the "Visible Man" anatomy model which showed all of the organs of the body. My sisters kept infuriating me by calling it the "Invisible Man" which it wasn't. I had memorized all of the organs by heart and could dislocate the various parts in my mind and section them all back together in my sleep. In fourth grade at the Turlock Elementary School (in California way back in 1967), the teacher decided we would learn more about the human body as a theme for Health class. Oh no, how dare they! I knew infinitely more than anyone else, even the teacher. I even brought my "Visible Man" model to school the next day before class started and had it all open. Each organ was laid out on my desk with the appropriate label for my classmates to see when they came in. Do you think they cared? Did I really think that they cared? I guess I did back then, when other things in life are important to you as a child.
Phew, what a pressure it must be to have to think all the time that you know everything better, when this is by definition an impossible task. So much weight of responsibility on my frail shoulders. To think that consciously and/or subconsciously I have carried this weight with me for so many years and well into adulthood.
Now what does all of this have to do with me right now? Well, I figure that while I have lost most of the intensity of that moment back then, I have still managed to retain a water-downed version of this know-it-all attitude. Trying to make things better but making them worse. In discussions that approach dangerously close to my realm of expertise, I tend too quickly to doubt the opinions of others. I resent the fact that they may be creating useful and creative ideas. Remaining open and not closing up too prematurely for valuable input is necessary for survival. I think that this potential shortcoming inherent to my personality is something that I should be aware of in order to improve myself. Listen and accept, forgive and forget. Life continues.
I do not want to know everything better anymore.