Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Mr. Know It All

by Chris Chaos

According to Wikipedia: A know-it-all or know-all is a person who obnoxiously purports an expansive comprehension of a topic and/or situation when in reality, his/her comprehension is inaccurate or limited. This display may or may not be directly expressed
"The key to success is to never stop learning, the key to failure is to think you know it all."

In a world of nobodies trying to be somebodies, everyone is trying to stand out and prove something.

I, and I am sure just like many of you that may be reading this, remember back as a teenager when you thought you knew everything. You knew more than your teachers about the way of the world and you certainly knew much more than your lame assed old parents.

Then as time went on and you got a job and took on more adult responsibilities you gradually saw how the world really worked. Then you went to college, met some interesting people with different life experiences than your own and some of your hard held opinions changed. Every 5 years or so you reached the point of where you thought you knew more than everyone around you and then some "new" piece of information would come into your world and it would be a wake up call to show you how little you really did know.

"The wise man knows he doesn’t know. the fool doesn’t know he doesn’t know." (Lao Tzu)

Sadly there are still adults out there that did not progress past this adolescent "know it all " phase and progressed little to none with their own lives. There they are dishing out parent advice despite they themselves never had kids. They dispense martial tips although they were never married. Their 20's went by and they are still in their dead end job, not progressing, have no life concerns and pass the time by watching pointless TV or playing videos games; empty pursuits.

Dealing with a "Know It All" can be challenging since in fact they truly do believe that they do know it all, or at least want everyone to think that of them. Tip toeing on eggshells becomes an art not to shatter their frail little egos of those that have an answer to everything. Sometimes a "Yes, I understand what you are saying, but here is my opinion." may be needed to gently usher in the idea that a whole other world exists outside of a Know It All's world.

Presenting your side in a nonthreatening manner can help ease your side into the conversation. As in, Well, here's what I know." "Let me tell you what I learned about it." "This is what I've heard." Know It All's tend to stretch for more ammo and argue more even despite the fact that they may have limited knowledge regarding the topic on hand. Know-it-alls tend to be grandiose egocentrics with an inability to admit they're ever wrong. If you challenge them directly, that's where they thrive -- they'll argue relentlessly to prove their point.

Hiding behind the need to let the world know exactly how smart, how funny, how interesting or how great they are, is the need to convince themselves of their own value.

We all know the dangers of Groupthink and the stagnation that it potentially can lead to and sometimes you do need to step away from the group and think outside the box, so to speak. For example many people have their go to source for knowledge, news and information, but sometimes it is healthy to venture outside of your comfort zone and investigate alternative sources. For an example if you normally use a certain news station/website it may be wise to visit a competitor to keep yourself fresh and not become stale.

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."
John Wooden

(Chris Chaos is a long time resident of South Jersey who once again resides in and writes from Gloucester City, New Jersey. He is a filmmaker, a business owner, writer, urban explorer and investigator of the odd and weird, a proud parent, happily taken and a connoisseur of hot wings. Chris can be reached at

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