Are you smarter than me?

Are you smarter than me?

I hope so.

If you have not watched the movie "The Big Year", I recommend it. Steve Martin plays Stu Preissler, Jack Black plays Brad Harris, and Owen Wilson plays Kenny Bostick. All three are serious birders engaged in a "Big Year". They are trying to see the largest number of species from 1 Jan to 31 Dec. Stu is the "really" guy; he is really in tune with his family, really rich, really significant, and who many of us would really want to be. Brad is the "real" guy; he has a real job, real family difficulties, and a real hard time connecting with the girl of his dreams. Kenny Bostick is, well, "totally" a bird guy. Totally consumed with a task, totally missing the beautiful in his life, and totally blowing it.

In the movie Brad makes some less than ideal choices but he also makes some right ones. Even Stu grows, but the real transition is when Brad chooses to be less "totally" committed to the task and more "really" committed to priorities. The line "What am I doing?" is pivotal in the movie and even more critical in our lives.

What am I doing to really make a difference where it counts?

What am I doing to ensure the people I love really know they are loved?

What am I doing that is really important?

To be honest, I have spent more of my life like Kenny than Brad. Guys find it easy to seek significance in a task and easy to forget that the task is not the master of our fate nor the sole measure of our value. Smart guys wind up like Stu; they are really connected to what is really important. Smart guys do not always have the Mensa card to whip out but can call on friends and loved ones in a time of need and get a significant response.

I want to be smart but have a long way to go. How about you?