If you know or care about something, you’re in a position of authority and power. This can be a great thing, but it can also come with some challenges. When feeling smart or passionate, we often think that gives us a pass to being strong-willed. I’m sure I’ve done it too.
When feeling smart, knowledgeable, or passionate, folks regularly do think that gives them a pass to be strong-willed. I’m sure I’ve done it too.
However, this type of know-it-all behavior can be perceived as arrogant by others. When someone talks to me about design, art, or music, I have to choose to be happy that they’re engaging with me on a topic that I love. At the same time, if I’m not careful, I risk turning them off from the subject if I don’t approach these conversations with excitement toward their efforts.
Being in this position of authority also comes with a certain level of responsibility. When I decide to be super encouraging about someone’s quest for knowledge, I find that I’m at my best. I believe that talking about effort over outcomes is key to keeping the conversation positive and productive. By doing this, I can help others internalize a love for my favorite subjects, rather than avoiding it because they feel like they’re not creative enough in comparison.
Authority is one of the most common social stressors, so it’s important to use our knowledge for good. We have the ability to make a positive impact, and that should be our focus in spreading our art.
It’s no fun when we come at it as a show-off or expect others to be impressed. (Unless you do it in a way that’s mocking that character.) Lots of folks are completely turned off from being creative become of these types of interactions.
The Power of Being a Novice in Conversation
Fortunately, I’m comfortable adopting a novice stance. Various online tests say that authority isn’t a stress trigger for me, and I see myself as an eternal novice. I believe that this mindset helps me stay humble and open-minded. After all, almost every subject is vaster than any one human can grasp.
In conclusion, being in a position of authority and power is a great thing, but it also comes with challenges. By approaching conversations with encouragement, using our powers for good, and embracing a novice stance, we can minimize the negative aspects of authority and make a positive impact on those around us.
What’s not my kind of fun: Guessing about the future, pretending you absolutely know what will happen based on the bias for a team. Constant one-upmanship about sporty knowledge. I don’t generally find history fun as a subject, and there’s all this history. I see the appeal of storytelling and drama in sports. The whole culture around it is not fun. I find a lot of politics to be sporty and team-based more than reasoning.
Various online tests say that authority isn’t a stress trigger that I identify with. I’m pretty comfortable switching to a novice stance. I see myself as an eternal novice.
Almost every subject is vaster than any one can grasp.
Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.