It’s an interesting question that we rarely ask. The opposite to this question is not “what do I know” but rather “what do I think I know”. We are never taught in school to actively search for what we don’t know because we are always too busy learning to know.
Many people I know are very uncomfortable with collaboration. With seeking out another’s perspective on a problem or issue. It has become a deep habit for me as I have learned over time that I know less than I think I know.
When we think we know, we limit our options to only those things that we have experienced. All of our worlds are smaller than we think they are. Only when travelling alongside a person’s thoughts, whose experiences are different than ours, do we begin to see how vast the world really is.
Possibility and creation occur where there is a fertile ground full of diversity of thought. Well worn roads are both safe and reliable in getting us to the same place every time. They seldom lead to change or meaningful personal growth.
Not wanting to seek out others for their points of view puzzles me. What is there to fear?
One mistake I made regularly over the years is in choosing who to seek advice from, I always turned to friends. Trusted but limited by the fact that their worlds were quite similar to mine. They either ended up confusing me because their opinions were not born of different experiences but rather of their own personal emotional make up. Or they simply agreed with me sending me on my way to a disappointing outcome while giving me false hope for something better.
My journey to find more about what I don’t know has led me to cultivate relationships with persons, books, and podcasts outside of my immediate world. Whose experiences and perspectives are different than mine. People, directly or indirectly, who have demonstrated professional competence and significant results.
My personal growth only began to reveal itself when I committed to this path. Providing me with options, never before imagined, for even the most difficult of situations.
Embracing the vulnerability of possibly not being right because there are many things we don’t know can be a real strength. Revealing to us another paradox of life where the strength of a conviction that “I know” leads many times to one of our greatest weaknesses and multitude of weak or failed outcomes.
This paradox should never paralyze us in making a decision. We will never know everything about something. There just isn’t enough time. We have to continue to make decisions and choices with imperfect knowledge and information.
Where this exploration can help, is to remind us that “measuring twice before cutting once” can work in many situations giving us a higher probability for a better outcome. But only when our inputs of information come from different sources of experience outside of our own world.