Knowing what you know, or what researchers call metacognition, is a key to top performance. Many people operate somewhere in the two extremes of thinking they know a lot when they don’t or thinking that they only know a little. The problem with many people is that they are not committed to knowing or searching for answers. People that are not afraid of such a search or of being committed to the answers they find almost always do well. The difference is being committed to knowing, meaning that you are committed to finding out. However, you also have to be committed to doing, after you know.
Another year has passed, and again, we have the opportunity to celebrate Black History Month with a goal of helping more people realize that anyone, no matter what color or ethnicity, can make important contributions to our society and should be recognized as a contributor. Seemingly U.S. history has dictated a void for the contributions of black Americans by either eliminating completely their achievements or crediting the deeds to persons who are or were not “persons of color.”
I have studied the Old Testament multiple times and I have struggled how it applies to our lives today. I finally came to the realization that it has a tremendous significance for us even today. The Old Testament predicts the coming of Jesus, the salvation he brought to all of us and, also, the sacrifice he made to die for our sins.
Immanuel Kant said, “I have no knowledge of myself as I am, but merely as I appear to myself.” This is a description of what everyone faces in life: the ability to see ourselves clearly and to know what we are to be about. It might be that we can come close to knowing ourselves only when our thoughts are in good condition and are coherent to ourselves. It is the type of clarity and steadiness that comes only when we have an objective standard such as God’s Word to compare what we think and feel with everything else.
A familiar quote by Mother Teresa: “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, much greater poverty, than the person who has nothing to eat.”
Each of us have different angles of observation and we each take in different types of facts and even understanding of what constitutes trouble. At times we need to soften our approach; at other times we must harden ourselves for what must be done. Sometimes we must yield a point and then at other times we must stand firm. This does not suggest that there aren’t proven answers that work if they are fully applied. Some will be satisfied with something that really can’t be known or at least verified. For others, the course of their lives will be determined by how hard they pursue a knowable truth and in finding it, how willing they are to adjust their lives to what they find. There are ways to go about achieving a desirable outcome for life.
The measure of our success is not whether we can predict the future but how prudently we prepare for it. The world may be uncertain but we do not need to share in that uncertainty. The prayer of King Solomon, noted in the Biblical book of First Kings, chapter 8, verses 56-58, offers some solid counsel on how to link the past, present and future for a more certain view of the days ahead. They serve as a good reminder of how all these time lines are linked.
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
The great innovators of the world have discovered a key to their inspiration: application. The final step in truly understanding anything is the deployment of what has been learned. Those that advocate the Bible as the best path to discovery of the truth must themselves discover that what Scripture advocates does not work if it remains an untested theory or a difficult to define philosophy. The great composer does not set to work because he or she is inspired, but becomes inspired because they are willing to work. Beethoven, Bach and Mozart had a tenacious work ethic. They would settle down day after day to the job at hand with as much regularity as an accountant settles down each day to his figures. They didn’t waste time waiting for inspiration; they got to work and found it.
Last week a collective anguish and sadness has swept across our country like a wave coming up on the beach. No words can suffice to comprehend the suffering of those families who lost their children to a young man that came with guns into an elementary school in Connecticut and killed seven adults and twenty small children. And no words can explain why such a thing happens or what it means.