How would you complete the title of this post? The possibilities are endless given the situations and subjects that may come to mind.
The title is part of a quote that caught my eye and sparked my thinking. Talking about our response to new music, American music critic Stephen Hyden suggested, “Sometimes, it’s just easier to stick with what you know.” I think all of us would agree with Hyden’s observation. When it comes to music, it is easier to stick with what we know because it is music with which we are familiar.
I don’t think, however, that Hyden’s insight is limited to music. Do you? When it comes to new things, most of the time it is easier to stick with what we know—that with which we are familiar and comfortable. And that is certainly understandable. With a lot of our preferences, practices, and habits sticking with what we know is fine. But not always.
My concern is that there are times when we stick with what we know when we shouldn’t. A couple of phrases that raise a yellow flag for me are “We’ve always done it this way” and “Let’s not rock the boat.” Those phrases suggest a hesitancy or unwillingness to try something new. Sticking with what we know may be easier and more comfortable, but it very well may also result in our being stuck.
If we never rock the boat, and if we always do it the way we’ve done it, it will be difficult for us to make changes, move forward, and do better. Not only that, sticking to what we know doesn’t require more from us or challenge us. As good as what we know may be, there may be something even better. Sticking with what we know can keep us from learning and stifle our creativity and growth. Not sticking to what we know may enhance what we know and who we are.
When should we stick with what we know and when should we not stick with what we know? When should we rock the boat and when should we not rock the boat? I’m confident there are times when we should stick with what we know and I’m also sure there are times when we should not stick with what we know. How do we know when to do which?
Before I answer the question I want to relay a quote from a book I have been reading today that has absolutely nothing to do with the subject of this blog post. Yet what the author wrote speaks to pretty much all of life: “there is no point in pretending that we know more than we do” (Canon of Scripture by F.F. Bruce, p 9). I don’t know when we should stick to what we know and when we shouldn’t. Deciding is part of the challenge, isn’t it?
What do you think?
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