‘The importance of knowing that you don’t know’

Share This Post

14th Oct, 2023

‘यदा किञ्चिज्ञोहं द्विप इव मदान्धः समभवम्।

तदा सर्वज्ञोस्मित्यभवदवलिप्तं मम मनः।।

यदा किञ्चित् किञ्चित् बुधजनशकाशादवगतम्।

तदा मूर्खोस्मीति ज्वर इव मदो मे व्यपगतः।।’

“When I had limited knowledge, I used to think of myself like a frantic elephant and I used to think that I knew everything & who knows more than me?

But when I came in contact with the learned people it slowly dawned on me that I knew nothing. Then I lost my pride with the speed similar to when a fever suddenly subsides.”

If knowledge is power, knowing what you don’t know is wisdom. Use your ignorance to your advantage.

Socrates famously observed, “I know one thing, that I know nothing.”

He also said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

We all probably don’t know as much as we think we do. When put to the test, most people find they can’t explain the workings of everyday things they think they understand.

When you do uncover these gaps, treat them as learning opportunities, not signs of weakness. After all, successful innovation rests on the assumption that you and the people around you have a high-quality understanding of the problem.

Sometimes, uncovering the flaw in that assumption will help you find a solution.

Don’t believe me?

Find an object you use daily, a zipper, a toilet, a stereo speaker, a phone, and try to describe the particulars of how it works.

You’re likely to discover unexpected gaps in your knowledge.

In psychology, it is called Cognitive Barrier, the illusion of explanatory depth.

It means you think you fully understand something that you actually don’t.

There’s a great power in knowing what you don’t know.

When we accept our ignorance and limitations, we become wiser.

This weekend, accept the limitation that we don’t know, attempt to learn & stay blessed forever.