Oh so smart or oh so pleasent?

09 August 2010


Emptiness. Disappointment. Aloneness. A feeling of infinite pain and regret. That's what being smart leaves you with.
How many of you have seen the old back-and-white movie Harvey? The one with Jimmy Stewart in it? One of the key scenes for me is when he's talking to Dr. Chumley, and every time I watch Harvey it strikes me again. Jimmy Stewart says this:
"Years ago my mother use to say to me, she'd Say, 'In this world, Elwood, you must be'—she always called me Elwood—'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me."
And I identify with him in that. For years I've tried to be the smart one. I've driven in the fast lane, I've slaved away at being "best" just like everyone else. And yet...? What?

It left me empty, hungry. You know, being smart has it's reward: you know things others don't and it leaves you friendless. Because if you aren't careful, your smartness can turn you into a critic. It's very similar to what Anton Ego said in Pixar's Ratatouille:
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.
Being smart gives you the same power as being a critic. It raises you to a level of honor among your friends, giving your opinion great value in their eyes. But the truth is being smart isn't worth such power or pain. Because in the end, you'll find yourself friendless. No one likes a critic. They don't want to be around a person who sees only the worst in something you dearly love, no one wants to hang out when you coldly dismiss what they treasure.

That's why I've tried to become "oh so pleasant". I'm not always that, but I try, I do try. And becoming "oh so pleasant" can mean very simple things. Responding to questions (emails or comments or letters), treating others as if equals even if you know they may not understand things you do, or even just being there for someone when you know they need you or need comfort. Don't just brush someone off because you seem them as unequal to yourself. That's pride speaking and pride is a terrible pitfall.

I guess I want this all summed up to this: love your neighbor as yourself. When the next person asks you, "What can I do for you?" Why not try and reply "What did you have in mind?" with a great big grin on your face. Try to be pleasent and forget about being witty, you'll make more of an impact that way. Trust me on that.

Awel Prince is the author of Shilah and the aspiring designer of blogs at Inspired Designs Studio. She has a passion for knowing more of her glorious God and find beauty and meaning in a world satisfied with the mediocre. She is also in the process of writing one of the few true Christain sci-fis while keeping up with friends, family, and life.

1 epistles:

  1. I so love this post. WHat a message! So true, and I find that I can, I think must, apply it to my own life. Thanks for sharing!

    blessings,
    Katherine

    ReplyDelete

"Gracious words are like a honeycomb; sweetness to the soul and health to the body." —Proverbs 16:24

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