Words from Dic(tionary)
by J. R. Practix
Acumen: (n.) the ability to make good judgments and quick decisions, typically in a particular domain: e.g. business acumen
We have convinced ourselves that ability is best achieved through training—and by training, we usually mean some sort of educational process granting us a degree or license to pursue an activity.
Here’s the problem: I have been to many doctor’s offices, where there were all sorts of awards hanging on the wall, and the technician standing before me has the personality of a beleaguered slug climbing a eucalyptus tree on a very hot day.
Acumen, in our society, is permission to pursue a profession because you have adequately written down the correct answers on a piece of paper in an allotted amount of time to demonstrate your present level of knowledge on a given subject.
- It does not mean you care.
- It does not mean you’re evolving toward greater understanding.
- And it certainly doesn’t mean that you even comprehend the “damn” that the tinker is supposed to pursue.
To me, acumen has to be measured in a much different way. Matter of fact, if you’ll allow me a little piece of silliness, I think the word should be broken down to “act like you mean it.”
That’s how I determine if I’m going to put my trust in another human being’s abilities. Just as grace covers a multitude of sins, passion certainly can disguise some levels of lessons yet unlearned.
Would I rather have someone convinced they’ve already achieved the right to pursue their craft, or would I prefer someone who is feverishly interested in the task and wants to learn how to do it more proficiently?
To me, that’s a no brainer
I am fed up with individuals who labor behind the desk in Customer Service, who obviously would rather shoot people with a gun than address their complaints.
And I am never going to be amiable to the notion of attending a church worship service where some monotone, anemic declaration of faith in God is revered simply because it has descended to a level of adequate somberness.
We will become a much better country when we stop touting our history, pointing to the achievements of our past, and instead, build a fire under our young people to hunger and thirst for righteous conclusions.
Acumen is not a one-time arrival at acceptability. It is a driving force inside us that tells us there is more to come if we will just act like we mean it.