Who Is That Guy With Tons of Gear?

How can you tell who’s the best guy in the room? How can you tell who has the best abil­i­ties or the best knowl­edge? In my expe­ri­ence, there’s no sure way to answer that ques­tion with just a glance. How­ever, you can almost always tell who for sure isn’t the best guy in the room.

The per­son who has the most gear, the most stuff, is most prob­a­bly not the best guy in the room.

The guy with the most pho­to­graphic equip­ment strapped to their body is prob­a­bly not the best pho­tog­ra­pher. The guy with the most cook­ing knives is prob­a­bly not the best guy in the kitchen. The guy with the most toys in the kitchen is prob­a­bly not the best cook. The guy with the most paint­ball gear is prob­a­bly not the best player on the field. The guy with the fan­ci­est car is prob­a­bly not the best dri­ver on the track. The guy with the most bibles is prob­a­bly not the best stu­dent in the bible study.

At this point, I have to tell you what prompts me to write this post.

I go to a bi-weekly bible study class at my church, and yes­ter­day I brought 3 Bibles with me. Well, actu­ally, that’s not entirely true. I brought two hard­copy Bibles with me and my dig­i­tal tablet which car­ries soft­copies of prob­a­bly 7 or 8 dif­fer­ent Bible trans­la­tions … but I had only one open for the class. So that’s why I say I had 3 Bibles with me for the class!

What in the world am I doing with that many Bibles for a brief, 90-minute class? Well, I don’t know my stuff very well. That’s the truth. I have been a Chris­t­ian for about 10 years now but don’t really know the Bible very well. I’m really enjoy­ing the in-depth look that we’re tak­ing at the Gospel of John, and I want to under­stand and appre­ci­ate as much of it as I can. So, I took with me a hard­copy of the Ampli­fied Bible, a hard­copy of the Expanded Bible, and opened up a copy of the Eng­lish Stan­dard Ver­sion (ESV) on my tablet.

I’ve brought other Bible trans­la­tions to the class before, but I just recently pur­chased the AMP and Expanded because they break out sub­tleties in mean­ing in a way that makes them poor for read­ing out loud but great for really try­ing to under­stand things.

Every­one else there, of course, has only one copy of the Bible. Even the few folks who are using tablets have just one ref­er­ence copy open.

So what does it say about me when I have 3 Bibles there and every­one else has 1? Does it mean I know my stuff bet­ter than any of them? Does it mean that I’m the hot­shot in the class? Far from it! In fact, the total opposite!

That lit­tle obser­va­tion last night reminded me that in almost every endeavor and inter­est I have been a part of, gear does not define the guy. Gear does not make you bet­ter. Gear does not make you kick ass. Gear just means you’re obvi­ously really keen, might mean you’re a show-off, and it means you’re com­pen­sat­ing for insuf­fi­cient abil­ity to be at the top rung of the ladder.

Don’t get me wrong, peo­ple who per­form well have good stuff. They just don’t need a lot of it, and some­times the stuff they choose to use is far from flashy. Wannabes pay for flash. Top dogs don’t. Wannabes don’t know what they need, so they buy every­thing they think they’ll need. Top dogs know what they need and that’s all they bring to the game.

Now, I say all this hav­ing gone through the phase of not know­ing what I need and buy­ing every­thing that I think I’ll need or that I think will help me per­form bet­ter in mul­ti­ple fields, almost all of them pricey. Pho­tog­ra­phy… although in my defence, I actu­ally trained and worked pro­fes­sion­ally as a pho­tog­ra­pher. My gear col­lect­ing didn’t start because of that though! Then there was paint­ball through two great spasms of gear acqui­si­tion. Then there was cook­ing knives, and to a lesser degree cook­ing ware like pots and pans. And yes, Bibles and com­men­taries and all the other stuff that sur­rounds Bibles.

I even­tu­ally got enough abil­ity and expe­ri­ence with pho­tog­ra­phy to learn what’s worth­while and what’s not. I even­tu­ally got enough abil­ity and expe­ri­ence in paint­ball to learn what’s worth­while and what’s not. I even­tu­ally learned with cook­ing knives and cook­ing­ware what’s worth­while and what’s not.

I’m still learn­ing this in the world of Bibles and asso­ci­ated study aids. Thank­fully in this realm the dol­lar costs involved are sig­nif­i­cantly less.

I’m aim­ing to seri­ously trun­cate the acqui­si­tion phase that com­bines igno­rance with opti­mism when I get into new adven­tures down the road. For an oth­er­wise smart guy, some­times I learn things like this really slowly — and I fig­ure hav­ing made the over-eager mis­take of get­ting more gear sev­eral times now in sev­eral dif­fer­ent domains that I’ve learned the les­son for the most part.

I might not be able to avoid it com­pletely, but I cer­tainly aim to min­i­mize it as much as possible!

So… I speak from expe­ri­ence both as some­one who has been there and some­one who is still there, depend­ing on what we’re talk­ing about, when I say that you can be pretty darned sure that the guy with the most gear is not the best guy in the game.

Keep that in mind, and never let the guy with tons of stuff intim­i­date you. Keep on hav­ing fun out there, and keep on kick­ing ass!

One response

  1. Hi Len,

    When I first started triathlon, I got a whole bunch of gears which I thought I needed. This is espe­cially true when it comes to train­ing in the win­ter time or in dif­fi­cult weather (rain). After­wards, based on exp, I real­ized there are some gears I don’t really need (or use).

    This is the same les­son I learnt when I was rac­ing. My first triathlon I brought a lot of gears (just in case). One of the things I learned from the pros is that they use very lit­tle gears, just the essen­tials. As I race from sea­son to sea­son, I started to use less and less gear.

    What I am try­ing to say is that I think when we first get into a hobby, we thought we need more than we actu­ally need. Then as we are becom­ing more expert in it, we slim down to those which is essential.

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