Be comfortable with not knowing

21 Feb, 2016 - 00:02 0 Views
Be comfortable with not knowing

The Sunday Mail

The world is full of uncertainty; expect this as a natural occurrence.

It is when you are not sure, when you do not know that you truly live —because then you are fully inspired to explore — learn and grow.

What you think is certain is usually just a mirage. Always live room for not knowing, because that is the engine of progress, inquiry and exploration.

There is no learning without posing a question, making an inquiry and moving beyond your current grasp.

There is always a little tinge of pride, assurance and confidence when you think you know where you are, what to do and how you got there.

Unfortunately, the future does not look like the past and the present is a marching train.

What worked before will not always work and what you assumed as obvious, may not be a fact at all.

Not all experience is useful and no knowledge is ever perfect or complete. I am not a promoter of ignorance, but there is a special place where not knowing is not a liability but an asset.

To achieve greatness do not feel unsettled, worried or fretful because of “Not Knowing”.

Take advantage of not knowing, let it give you all its fruits and ignite in you a passion to learn, an urge to move forward and a curiosity to explore. You will never reach out to others so long as you think you know and are complete.

Times of change

Times do change and keep changing.

Seasons come and go, but the expanse of not knowing will never go.

Eric Hoffer once said: “In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

When you know how much you do not know, you are inspired to learn and keep learning. Knowledge and expertise in any arena is always growing faster than our digestion ability. Never be satisfied to be beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists and a purpose that has expired.

The Earth is inherited by those who learn all the time.

The biggest asset is not what you know, but knowing how to learn. Not knowing accelerates your passion to learn and to grow. Always have a learning and personal growth agenda. The moment you stop learning you start straying towards irrelevance.

There is an old Persian Proverb that is pregnant with a message of learning:

“He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool; avoid him.

“He who knows not and knows that he knows not is a student; teach him.

“He who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep; wake him.

“He who knows and knows that he knows is a wise man; follow him.”

It is sometimes the things that you think you know that limit and constrict your world view. In times of change, new things keep appearing.

Suddenly, what you thought you knew becomes stranger than fiction. Knowing that you know not allows you to be a student of life. You become whatever you study. Not knowing allows you to explore, learn and drive towards mastery of new skills to survive the new realities.

Never be satisfied with old rules and methods when change has come. You may not know how to navigate the new terrain, but keep that hunger to learn, grow and develop.

Keep asking questions, knocking on doors and seeking for solutions and answers.

Do it scared

The journey to the future requires big, bold and inspiring goals, usually deep into territory that you do not know. Not knowing usually brings fear and hesitation.

Small goals leave you where you are, settling in over-grazed territory. Setting comfortable goals leaves you where you are, in stunted growth.

Setting big inspiring goals brings you to the face of a big, bold, scary future.

This is where you belong and this is what prompts you to grow. Not knowing makes you think, dream and be really creative.

Not knowing gives you freedom to explore, humility to ask and courage to dare.  Set your goals, make them clear. It is enough to have a clear goal even if you do not know the path to it.

That will be given to you as you explore. When you set a really big and excited goal, you may feel scared. That is normal and natural. Whenever you do not know, and you are scared, do not run away; do it scared.

Take action using what you know and keep moving. No knowing is nothing new, its the process of life.

Remember your first day at school, first interview, first time in a car, your first contract, your first speech, your first flight and all the other first days you have experienced. Every time you moved forward because you just did it “scared”.

Never let anyone intimidate you because it is your first time. Never let anyone rob you of your confidence. If you have to do it and you are scared, then do it scared.

Never let the fear of the unknown rob you of your confidence.

 It is an opportunity

Experience will get you to the table. Unfortunately some people will then sit at the table, become content with what they know and how they do it.

In their comfort, they remain sitting at the table when everyone else has moved on in search of new opportunities and new methods. Today’s problems cannot be solved using yesterday’s solutions.

Tomorrow’s challenges cannot be solved using yesterday’s logic, assumptions and facts.

Refuse to be present but irrelevant. Not knowing is an opportunity to wear your exploration cap once again, and do not take that cap off.

Bring new questions as a torch of learning and exploration.

Adam Morgan in his book “Eating the Big Fish” exhorts us to embrace what he calls, “intelligent naivety.”

Which, really, is being intelligent about not knowing.

Morgan defines intelligent naivety thus: “To bring a fresh and dynamic set of questions to the category, a set of questions that deliberately breaks with the immediate past of the category and looks at what we can learn from other categories — both in terms of what we can bring that is new, and also in terms of which bits of so-called wisdom we need to unlearn in order to break through.”

What you know now is just a passing shadow.

Not knowing allows you to confidently proceed when those that are experienced are too sacred to explore new ways and see new opportunities.

Be comfortable with not knowing, but never let that be your comfort zone.

Not knowing allows you to ask fundamental questions that the rest of the players in your chosen category or industry are too close or too closed off to ask anymore. New eyes see what trained eyes may be too familiar to see.

Never be afraid to ask questions and to explore. Never be afraid to dream of new possibilities. Never be afraid to ask why, and why not.

You are not the only one afflicted by not knowing. But you can choose to be the only one who is doing something about it.

Explore, think, link up with other kindred souls.

There are rich possibilities behind the curtain of not knowing.

There are great possibilities beyond the ford of not knowing. The opportunities for learning and growth are everywhere begging for the inquiring minds to turn in.

You do not need to know everything to take the next step. Walk in the light you see and keep searching for more light.

Keep moving and learn as you go.

It is not enough not to know, keep learning and exploring. It is not enough to know, you have to do. Nothing changes when you sit still waiting for everything to line up before you take the next step.

Not knowing should never be an excuse or alibi for doing nothing.

Create a learning agenda, learning time and find learning partners. Always have an area that you are working to master, to keep you in motion and growing.

Always have questions that you are carrying; they help you have rich conversations.

Always have people that you are looking to meet; there is always one more inspirational story that can spur you further.

Always have a book that you are reading and a few others that you are planning to read; they expand your world view.

Always have some place you are expecting to visit; there is always something that you will learn in new places.

Not knowing is a torch that jolts you out of complacency and keep you on the move. There is a crack in everything that is how light gets in. That crack perhaps is not knowing because that is the key to the light.


Milton Kamwendo is an international transformational and inspirational speaker, author and coach. He is a strategy, innovation, team-building and leadership facilitator. He can be reached at: [email protected], Twitter @MiltonKamwendo or WhatsApp 0772422634


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