“They” say what you don’t know won’t hurt you. “They” are lying or have lived very sheltered lives. What we don’t know is a primary cause of headaches, lost productivity, and other trauma.
The hard part about the things we don’t know is that we don’t always know what they are. Sometimes there’s no way to know. Other times there are hints, but we choose to ignore them. Sometimes we just forget to (or choose not to) look.
Dealing with what we don’t know requires effort. Sometimes, in-spite of our efforts, something else we didn’t know (one we didn’t know we didn’t know…) still shows up and wrecks the party. The thing is, willfully ignoring what we don’t know is more likely to cost us than the unknowable unknowns ever will (that’s a probability of costing us, not a measure of how much…). So, at least assessing what we don’t know and deciding how to deal with those deficits is a fantastic idea.
Actually, assessing what we don’t know is the first of a chain of good ideas that will (more often than not) benefit us in the long run. Here’s the basic chain: 1) Honest assessment of what you know and what you don’t (“Check your ego”); 2) Assessment of your resources for finding more information (“Check what’s available”); 3) Building your plan (“What’ll we check next?”) 4) Seeking sources (“Check who’s in the know”); and 5) Reassessing and move forward (“Double check!”).
Since covering these all at once would make for a very long blog post, I’ll take them one at a time over the next few months. This will make for easier reading, and allow a clear focus on each step.
Without honestly assessing what we don’t know, how are we going to learn any of it? Probably by making mistakes and causing problems for ourselves.
If we don’t evaluate the resources we have, how can we make the best choices and plan for finding answers?
If we don’t build the plan, we’ll probably wander. And wandering costs us time and resources.
If we don’t use the plan we’ve created, what was the point of making it?
Reassessing helps us understand where we are and how things have changed (and what may change soon).
I’m not saying we need to get a doctorate in every little thing, but we at least need some idea of what we don’t know yet, what might happen, and what we’ll do if issues come up. The point is having a reasonable idea of what we’re doing and being sure the benefits outweigh the costs.
Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know, dear reader. The capacity to learn is part of who and what we are. In fact, it’s a defining factor of who and what we are.
Use the power that’s within you, dear reader. Lean what you need to learn. And, I’ll see you next post.