Today’s blog is one I’ve been working on for a while. Three distinct thoughts started as three different blogs, then I returned to something I’d read before and it made them one.

1. Expert

First of all, a very excellent friend asked me what made someone an expert and whether or not an individual can be an expert in more than one thing. Take a toddler, for instance. Are they experts at learning? Does their impeccable squat technique make them an exercise expert? I still have no clear answer.

2. Average

Then one of my runners told me that they considered themselves to be an ‘average’ runner. This was surprising, especially coming from this individual, since their progress has been astronomical and they’ve pushed themselves, mentally and physically, to achieve some astonishing feats. They’ve done so with a clear and well-articulated acceptance of their strengths and limitations. A definite case of ‘conscious incompetence’, which we will work on.

3. Being kind

A few days later, I was reminded of the old adage, “If you can’t can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” This is the thought that’s been bothering me most and has developed into a very specific thought-worm in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd.

Is it ‘nice’, as a white person, to acknowledge that white people have used, and in some cases continue to use, violence against black people in order to maintain a power imbalance? Is it ‘nice’ to be reminded that silence is complicity? No: they’re not nice things to say and they’re not nice to hear. Are they necessary things to say? Absolutely they are.

Making a link?

Finally, I re-read this Maya Angelou quote, and for me, it brought these very different thoughts into some sort of order:
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”