The power of “I Don’t Know”

One of the most important phrases I will ever use is “I don’t know”.

This one little phrase has led me toward more personal and professional growth than I could reasonably hope to enumerate here.
It has enabled me to make real and significant change when that change was most needed, and as a result has consistently brought me nearer to actualizing the kind of life I wanted to live.

Socrates is credited with stating that “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” While this may appear at a cursory examination to be a performative contradiction, such as “I am certain that nothing is certain” or “Nothing is absolute,” closer inspection should reveal quite the opposite. What Socrates was getting at, I believe, was that to be completely open and receptive to new knowledge, you must approach said Knowledge unimpeded by prejudice, presumption, or pride, and turn your mind into as pure and clean a receptacle as possible.

As I wrote about in the previous post, recently I switched careers. It was a change long overdue, and it all began with a single “I don’t Know.”

“What are my options?” I don’t know.
“What does the industry need right now?” I don’t know.
“What technologies are the most in demand?” I don’t know.
“How do I solve common business problems with these technologies in a way that is valuable to a client or employer?” I don’t know.

With each “I don’t know”, I came one step closer to discovering the best way to pursue my best opportunities, because I was open to any and all information. Once I started my new career, using it has added more skills to my resume is less time than I can recall in recent memory.

It admittedly requires a fair amount of confidence and humility to use this little phrase, or at least it does when used sincerely. But few other phrases hold as much power to affect as much exhilarating change for so little effort.

Thanks for reading.

Oh, and if you haven’t, check out the Adobe trailer! And the book.