Understanding the world better by cultivating “I don’t know”

I don’t know about you but I hardly hear these words.

Opinion has become a by-product of technology. In a world that is constantly innovating we have begun anchoring to ideas without doing the work to fully understand them.

There is no excuse to not have an opinion. Everything is easily accessible and if you don’t share your view you’re labeled as ignorant or stupid. Consequently, we go and memorize a headline, wrap our ego around it, and hold it with a close fist.

We live in a culture where we always have to have an opinion and showing up with a water cooler is how it always needs to be.

But I must admit that having an opinion and spilling out surface knowledge sometimes gets you promoted faster. “I don’t know” is an important trait to understanding the world better but not necessarily to climbing the corporate ladder. Being right for the wrong reasons and winning is just luck but it’s easier to accept because it’ll eventually catch up to them if they aren’t checking in for feedback.

Charlie Munger once said, “I’m not entitled to have an opinion on this subject unless I can state the arguments against my position better than the people who are supporting it.”

Maybe we should reconsider how we consume media. Are you doing it for information, entertainment or knowledge?

Most importantly…

Has someone ever probed you by asking you simple questions if you truly know your stuff. How would your opinion work? Why are you thinking like that? What variables matter to you? What would cause you to change your mind? Etc…

Next time you really don’t know something, try saying “I don’t know.” It’s okay and it’s refreshing. And you’ll probably really learn something. Maybe even start making better decisions.