A few days ago I traveled to PA to meet with my accountant and have my taxes done. I had several things my list as I don't get to PA very often anymore. As I exited 83, steering my car was very difficult. I stopped at a gas station and checked the power steering fluid, hoping it would be a quick fix. That wasn't the problem.
I decided i should have a mechanic look at it. Lucky, I was very close to the mechanic I used when i lived in that area years ago. He stopped everything, looked at the engine, determined that I had a broken belt that could cause more damage it if wasn't removed, put it on the lift, gave me instructions for what to do next and how to get safely home - and he sent me on my way. No charge.
Years ago I had taken my car into him with a problem. He fixed it for a quarter. "It was a screw. i just replaced it. That'll be a quarter." I had no idea what the problem was and he could have charged me hundreds of dollars, but he didn't. He didn't even charge for the time he took to look at it and determine the problem.
People like Jackson at Jackson's Automotive give me faith in humanity. His knowledge and expertise give him power. He could use it to take advantage of people, but he uses it to help. Over the years, I went to him for everything I needed and recommended him to others. I'm still recommending him, even though I don't live in the area. I have a lot of friends on Facebook who do.
I've seen other less pleasant versions of the use of expertise and knowledge as power recently. There are those who could easily stop for just a minute and answer a question and make someone's day more pleasant, but use their advantage to make others uncomfortable.
It reminds me of the learning curve when computers first came out. Some who were trained held back the information to feel superior, having forgotten that at one time they had to learn something new too. Others enthusiastically shared what they knew, remembering what it was like when they were beginning learners. Teachers, whether through formal education or someone simply giving directions or answer a question, have a wonderful opportunity to give.
One of my most popular training concepts is "Collecting Firsts." It started years ago when I decided, as I approached a signficant birthday, i had already done everything I would ever do. I lived in the same house and town I had for decades, ate the same foods. had the same jobs - paid and volunteer - that I had for years, traveled the same roads to work, read the same books, ate at the same restaurants, ordered the same menu items. Life was dull, all because of my lack of creativity and vision.
Overnight that changed, beginning with a one week grocery shopping trip where I refused to buy anything I had ever purchased before. It had to be a different brand, types, etc. (Guava paste instead of cranberry sauce, papaya instead of mango, a different laundry detergent instead of the Tide I had been getting all my life). You get the idea.
As I collected firsts, I often needed to be a new beginner and found myself asking for help or guidance. I'm so grateful to those who have been patient and shared their knowledge with me over the years. Some were dear friends and relatives, others were strangers who pointed me in the right direction and our paths never crossed again.
Knowledge, skills and expertise shouldn't make us feel superior. They should allow us to share our gifts with non-judgement and a smile. They are our true power - the power of understanding what really matters in this world.
Each exchange we have can be positive, negative or neutral. It's easy to forget when reacting to the day"s events. I'm hoping the lessons over the last few days will remind me to be more aware and thoughtful.
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!