One of the greatest problems we have as humans, is trying to understand what we know and don’t know. On its surface, knowing & not knowing appear to be opposites. There seems to be no middle ground when deciding where you sit with respect to a given topic. What become’s interesting are the similarities between the two which are never considered.
When we think we know something, we believe it with great certainty. Riding a bike or driving a car are examples where this holds true. You can easily demonstrate your proficiency beyond a reasonable doubt. Though there are not many things where you can demonstrate 100% proficiency. There is always so much more to learn in every situation, profession or topic.
Believing that you know something, deadens your curiosity as well as your sensitivity towards nuance. No two situations are exactly the same. But when we believe we know, we tend to overlook smaller details that when focused on would bring about questions as to how the current situation is different. We also tend to relax, for we assume there is no more for us to know as well. It’s easier when we believe we know, to do something and move on instead of trying to learn more in the moment.
When believing you know something without truly understanding it, can lead us to faking it. To posture that we do. Without ever considering the fact that we may know very little. Again ignoring nuance while rushing to conclusions and actions whose outcomes most likely will be poor.
For those times when we don’t know, look what happens. Rushing to this conclusion stops us from looking and exploring as well. We ignore differences or nuance simply because we don’t know enough to recognize them as being meaningful or important. Same as when we believe we know. When we truly don’t know we also don’t know what is important in a given situation.
We also rush to hide behind our belief that we do not know which us leads us to the incorrect conclusion that we don’t have the ability to know. Sometimes because we don’t know where to search for learning in the area in question or because we are simply lazy and do not want to put in the messy effort to become more educated around whatever is currently confronting you.
Because of these similarities, we should always ask ourselves the question “what don’t I know” when faced with any situation. No matter if we believe we know or don’t know going into it. Raising our awareness in the seach for nuance and/or differences. Then mixing all of this with a curiosity to seek more knowledge in an area we feel we are deficient but may find helpful with our current circumstance.
We never quite know where we sit in the spectrum between knowing and not knowing. It varies between situations as well as topics. This is certainly a great challenge that requires an awareness, curiosity, and interest in further developing our skills with each important situation we face. So that we can become better able, with intention, to generate more consistently positive outcomes in our life over time.
Always using curiosity to unlock our awareness to help us determine how much we don’t know or know in any situation we face.