Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Empowered by Knowledge

"For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?  
Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish." 
Luke 14 : 28 - 30.

Some people would admit that within a time frame of as short as about two hours of discussion and interacting with others , that they would have formed their first impressions of that adult or child.
They would  be able  to guess what are the levels of those  persons' social background , their education and their overall mentality.
Basing their judgement  on  their very first meeting , people have been known to decide to form relationships or to reject any further  interactions with persons whom they see as not "fitting the bill " of their expectations.
 For those who rely on their first impressions or first instincts, they could change their mind and decide  to defer their final judgement on that person until after they make extra efforts  to find out more about the person . Usually this decision  to "get  to know better" would arise if and only if such persons  have aroused their interest because they find them physically attractive or because they think that such  persons could be useful to them in future.

Life becomes less complicated if one knew what one should know about products before buying them, as I wrote in my previous blog  titled " Reviews-powered Shopping".
As well, life would be hassles-free if we knew before hand what and who we allow to come into our lives.
Just as we have the guidance of products reviews , wouldn't it  be nice to have " people - reviews" too?
Having the foresight provided by the medium of  honest and reliable recommendations is vital in aiding us in assessing  people before we decide to  reject them or admit them into our lives .
 How wise is it  to depend on human knowledge when forming a first impression about anyone ?
Using our own limited human knowledge , it is not possible  to know the true picture about anyone .
Whatever the information or knowledge is , which we are searching  for to enable us form our impressions about people , there is the need for moderation and caution .
Divinely - inspired revelations about people and things are the ultimate source of  knowledge which can guarantee  fool-proof and error-proof decision - making .
The easy alternative is  to depend on our impressions or on "hear-say".
If you do that, you could make the costly mistake of
accepting the wrong persons into your life and inadvertently rejecting the pleasure of forging  relationships with the right persons.
In order not to miss out on forming valuable friendships , avoid the easy option of depending on your five senses or on the recommendations of other people to form either negative or positive first impressions about anyone.
 In already - existing relationships , exchanging warm greetings , hugs, smiles and lovely compliments are the normal displays of affection  to be expected between persons  in happy human relationships.
Relying on our  human knowledge , how can we measure the genuineness and the depth of these displays of love from people we hold dear?
 Some people  could have been a part of our lives for a long time , but  that is not enough reason to  be sure that they have remained constant and true in their relationships with us.

Is this search for confirmation, this need to know who and what we are dealing with nothing but a self-limiting , mean-spirited display of lack of faith and trust in anything and  in other people's word ?
Being certain of what we are paying for and being able  to confirm the veracity of who and what people say they are or confirming who and what we perceive them to be , is  imperative in our search for the best deals in life .  
 After being informed by product reviews about what  to expect from a substandard product  ; no wise buyer would lavish money  to invest in "white elephants" .
Searching for  regrets-free and litigation -free  relationships  is a worthwhile search for a peaceful life for ourselves and for an amicable  co-existence with our fellow humanity . This can never be classified as "a mean-spirited display of lack of trust in anything or lack of trust in anybody" .
Therefore , there is a continuous need for us to acquire a review-empowered  knowledge of not only what we are investing our money in ; but also to be sure of whom and what we are dealing with .

All human beings have the freewill to  choose , that is the we all have the luxury of  choosing our preferences. Business partners , married couples , neighbours , friends , work colleagues  and church members do have the luxury of choices to make as to who they would like to do business with , or who they would love to marry , where to live, where to work ( not always!) , which church to join and who to make friends with.
We have the luxury of choice to accept or reject relationships with anybody ; but we do not have the luxury of choice of who are parents and family member are , or  into which race , nation  or creed we are born .
 There is a quote that if unborn babies had the luxury of choosing their parents , choosing their religions and choosing their countries before their births ;  many  persons who are parents today would be  childless , rejected by the unborn babies and many countries and religions would be desolate and not be existing today.

 Coupled with this God- given luxury of making free-will choices for our lives , we need  foresight and fore knowledge of what we are getting into because to be fore-warned is to be fore-armed.
 Things and people are  not always what they seem to be outwardly.
 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it ?
I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings ". Jeremiah 17 : 9 , 10.

 Therefore , apart from seeking divine knowledge , expert advisory services are highly sought after ; they are required by people who need extra information about the products they desire to buy , about the persons  they are dealing with and about what type of business deals they are getting themselves involved in.
This "Need - to- know" is desirable  and essential to the extent that an industry have been built around it .
 It has  become the norm to utilise the professional services provided by business , financial or relationship consultants, legal advisers, private detectives , police checks and police archive records  and  so on; in addition to seeking the counsel of the Holy Spirit of God
Using these reviews , people have learnt lessons , both good and bitter ones from the experiences of  others. Ppeople have been heard swearing and lamenting  that if only they could turn back the hands of the clock ; if only they knew before the fact , the type of  man or woman they were getting into business , or falling in love with or getting into  marriage with , they would not have touched them with even a very long pole , they would have dropped such persons  fast , like hot iron!
Many people are lamenting that if only they knew the kind of persons who some of their friends were  , they  would have ran away from such friends and wouldn't have given them even the time of  the day!
Some are lamenting that if only they knew what was actually going on in that church before they joined or  if only they knew of the sort of  persons living in their neighbour hood  ; for the sakes of their own dear lives they  would never  have gone even within a five- mile radius near that church and that neighbourhood !

We read , we write and we utilise Products Reviews , all the time, especially  before we make major purchases.
If  we organised a  Personality - Review amongst families and friends , how interesting would be the revelations contained in those reviews ?
 After years of our relationships with people such as our parents , siblings, husbands , wives ,our children ,business partners , lovers, friends , neighbours or  work colleagues ; if they were asked  to write reviews about us , what would be  the jaw-dropping and eye-popping stuff they would write about us; views which we never suspected they held about us ?!
 What would our own written reviews about them be like ;  and what would our score for them read?
You know , review-writing could be an opportunity  to express very good views about each other in writing ; to disclose  impressive stuff which we have been too shy or  to busy or too proud  to tell each other . Hmmm.....!

Knowing the amount of eye-service , the lip-service and the pretence which goes on amongst human beings ; honest reviews about each other's character flaws , character aces , good performances and below par  personality traits , are necessary in order to build better, stronger and more peaceful relationships.
If all families , spouses , friends , bosses , church ministers , politicians and other leaders desire , sincerely , to do their  best of maintaining cordial relationships and running their families , their organisations and nations ; they would desire to be empowered to do so through the information and knowledge they would obtain from honest , complete and no-holds-barred reviews ( anonymous reviews? ) which express the true feelings and opinions of those persons they say they care about .

If husbands and wives were asked to write truthful reviews of their marriages and to write honest reviews of what they think about their husbands and wives; what would they say about each other and what would they disclose about the actual state of their marriage?
Would the united , loving , sweet and romantic façade which some married couples choose to exhibit when they are in public view be the same " show" as the realities of what is actually happening between them behind their closed doors?
What about the actual situations between other family members , amongst friends , church members , neighbours and colleagues ?
How genuine are those public displays of affection , of hugs , kisses , smiles and those voiced niceties ?

I have had the opportunity of arranging anonymous  Personal Review writing in my church group, in my office and amongst my friends ; whereby with the aid of questionnaires containing some 30 questions made of six sections , participants are requested  to write reviews about  the persons whose names are  written on top of the form which they have picked .
Lol ! Writing and reading anonymous personal eviews create loads of fun and laughter .
 Try to organise one and you would  like it and thereafter you would do it often .
When I organise such reviews, the conditions  for the participants qualifying to take part in the anonymous peoples reviews are:
1. You must have been a member of that group for at least six months  to know every one there, long  enough for you to qualify to write reviews about them  .
2. When you step forward to collect the review questionnaire , the forms are placed face down on the table so that you only  know whose form you have collected to write reviews on .
For your own good , just in case you decide to bare your soul and write a " stinker " i.e. an awful review about that person , do not allow anyone to see the name on the form you have picked !
The  anonymous reviews entail answering about 30 questions on what you think of various aspects of that person , ranging from their  personal grooming to social skills , to Faith life , leadership  / subordinate qualities etc, etc.
At the end of each section, based on your assessments , you are required to give scores to  that person you are reviewing ; ranging from 0 ( Zero )  to 10 marks. 
Later , the completed forms will be returned , face down on the table .
 Then the moderator would collect them and call out the names for people to come forward and collect and read their personal reviews.
 The name of the game is for participants to be able to read and learn from their persons reviews and to be able to laugh at yourself  without bitterness against your anonymous reviewer.
After reading the anonymous reviews about them , some people have actually been generous enough to offer  to share the contents of  their reviews with the group ;  to actually  read out the even the awful stuff written about them by their anonymous reviewers!
The awful or wonderful stuff which  people write about each other and the comments and reactions of people after reading the anonymous reviews about them is another topic for me , for another day.

People could give us surprises ; sometimes pleasant ones and sometimes shockingly nasty surprises !
You may be thinking  you have done well and you are doing the best you can  to  make people happy enough to like you . But what is your "best offer" worth to them?
Some would say , "why should I care about what people who are  not important  to me are thinking or saying about me ?! "
True , you would not care about their views if people are not important  to your life.
But you should care about the opinions of people you are deeply involved with ; there is the need to know what those you care for and those you have respect for feel about you and what they desire from you in their relationships with  you.
A stitch in time saves nine . Knowledge about faults empowers timely change.
Wishing  you a knowledge-empowered , happy life!
“Half of the time, the Holy Ghost tries to warn us about certain people that come into our life.
The other half of the time He tries to tell us that the sick feeling we get in a situation is not the other person’s fault, rather it is our own hang-ups.
A life filled with bias, hatred, judgement, insecurity, fear, delusion and self-righteousness can cloud the soul of anyone you meet.
Our job is never to assume---instead to listen, communicate, ask questions then ask more, until we know the true depth of someone’s spirit.”
Shannon L. Alder

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