All the things you’ve learned since you were born.
All the things you’ve forgotten…in the last five years.
The capital of Vermont. Montpelier. I remember that one from 5th grade, even though I’ve never been to Vermont or Montpelier. I like the way it sounds, and the word Montpelier always makes me think of potato peelers.
“I” always comes before “E,” except after “C” and in weird words like weird.
Over ninety-eight percent of the population of Australia lives within 25 miles of the country’s coastline. I learned that from a tour guide. I assume it’s true.
Now, consider everything you don’t know.
Like, how to sew. Or, how to find top dead center on a Volkswagen engine. What about the method for calculating the orbital decay of a satellite? The percentage of nitrogen and oxygen in our atmosphere?
How about the exact weather forecast for a month from now? What your customers will want or need or expect one year, two years, five years from now? The truth is, they probably don’t know either.
I’d venture to say that what we don’t know is “Infinity minus One” larger than what we do know. Sounds hopeless.
But it’s the unknowns that make our little journey interesting. Discovering the secrets of an unknown is the reward for our curiosity.
How does cruise control work?
How and when did someone decide it was a good idea to pick certain red berries, dry them in the sun, then put them over a fire for just the right amount of time (whatever that is), then grind up what’s left and run hot water over it to make coffee?
Where does castor oil come from?
Curiosity and the humility to admit our ignorance, in pursuit of new knowledge is the key to learning.
Understanding that our decisions will never have the luxury of complete or perfect knowledge. We’ll never know everything before making the decision.
In fact, taking that risk and making the (uninformed) decision is another way we learn. If our decision is wrong, we learn from it (hopefully) and make a new decision that is less wrong.
Knowledge is power, and ignorance is bliss. Both are right.
But I believe ignorance can have more power. The power to try. The power to seek. The power to chase the unknown.
What do I know? I know that I don’t know much, even though I know a lot.
Knowing that I don’t know drives me to ask the dumb question(s), to search for answers, to seek the unknown, to leap, to discover, to practice, and most of all, to never stop learning.
Photo by Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash