OK, I’m going to let you in on a few things about myself that I’ve struggled with, pretty much my whole life. It may sound like you, or like someone you know. If not, hopefully at least you’ll know where I’m coming from. At the very least, maybe it will be entertaining…

  1. As a kid, I would ask my parents questions just so I could be the one who could answer them.
  2. As a kid, I used to sit around and read the encyclopedia. (Kids, ask your parents what an encyclopedia is!)
  3. Wikipedia is a great tool, but it is a bottomless pit. i can get on there with a legitimate question and hours later find myself reading about the differences between stone circles in ancient France and ancient England.
  4. If I’m with others, and somebody wonders something aloud, my knee-jerk reaction is to get my iPhone out of my pocket and look it up.
  5. You can say something about my clothes, you can say something about my sports teams, you can say something about my mama (OK maybe not my mama), but if I ever say something and you respond with “That’s not true”, you have officially started a fight with me.
  6. My problem isn’t that I need to be right. I AM right.
  7. When I talked to my then-girlfriend-now-wife ‘s parents to get their approval before I proposed, here was my future father-in-law’s response: “I guess if you guys ever get short on cash, you could go on Jeopardy! or something. (True story!)
  8. I’ve bugged Siri so much she won’t talk to me anymore.
  9. I’m not a betting man. I’m actually pretty much anti-gambling. But I have on several occasions bet a million dollars that I was right about something important, like, oh I don’t know, which network broadcasted the Godzilla cartoon.
  10. I have such a firm sense of right and wrong on things involving knowledge that it trumps everything else, including relationships with friends and family.

Thanks for taking this little trip with me down nerd memory lane. Now I’m not nearly as bad of a know-it-all as I used to be. I’m definitely getting better. But that’s pretty much my natural tendency. Realizing this, especially #10, motivated me to change.

If it sounds like you, or someone you know, here are a few steps I’ve taken. I’m going to send it out there. If it works, you can keep it. If not, you can send it right back.

  1. People are more important than facts.
  2. Right or wrong, sometimes (usually?) it’s better to keep it to yourself.
  3. Stop basing your self-worth on things you know or don’t know.
  4. Remember – it’s called “trivia” for a reason.
  5. Stop labeling facts as right or wrong.
  6. Wonder without Googling. – I learned this phrase from a Facebook meme. Remember it the next time you feel the urge to look something up.
  7. Before you reach for your smart phone, ask if somebody really needs this information. If someone is genuinely asking for it, you are being helpful. If not, you just might be venturing into know-it-all territory.

Finally, I’ll leave you with my current favorite Bible verse. This totally sums up what kind of “knowing” we should care about the most. As a recovering know-it-all, it’s quickly become one of my favorites.

“Let him who boasts, boast in this: that he understands and knows me.” ~ Jeremiah 9:24

How does this post hit you? Does it sound like you? Does it sound like someone you know? Do you have any advice that could be helpful to us recovering know-it-alls? Do tell! Use the comments to let us know…