I used to think ignorance was the source of ALL our problems including everything from health issues such as mental illness to economic problems such as poverty and famine. Perhaps ignorance is not the root cause in ALL cases, but you can always find it lurking close by.
The dictionary defines ignorance as NOT KNOWING and for the purposes of our discussion we’ll add being unaware of some–thing to that definition. But unaware of WHAT?
When it comes to a specific problem, you could be unaware of many things including the very problem itself. If you can’t define the problem, you most certainly won’t solve it. You could be unaware of what caused a problem to occur, and you could be uninformed about potential solutions as a result.
From my experience, the most destructive kind of ignorance is not knowing who you are – your strengths, what turns you on/off, your blind-spots, and the key people in your life that can help fill the gaps.
As for me, I know that I don’t know a lot. I don’t know any other languages but english. I don’t know how economies work. I don’t get why NASA went to the moon for a span of 3 years from 1969 – 1972 and never went back. I don’t know how to code web apps, how to ride horses (even though I’ve ridden one before), where I lost my car remote, and why grass grows through concrete.
Yes, ignorance is potentially a BIG problem, but a bigger problem facing humanity is not just ignorance, but IOI. What is IOI? It’s…
Ignorance of Ignorance.
See my sample ‘ignorance list’ up there? I’m very aware of what I don’t know when it comes to those things. At this point, if I decide not to do anything about my ignorance, then I’m choosing to live with the consequences of not knowing – good or bad.
Consider this: IOI extends beyond my limited knowledge base because I also don’t realize how the consequences of not knowing a particular thing will affect me.
Goodness, that was a mouthful. Let’s try this…
1. I’m knowingly ignorant of something (how to cook lasagne, for example).
2. I’m also knowingly ignorant of how NOT KNOWING could benefit or cause me harm (i.e.).
I know, I know. It seems confusing and all convoluted, but the keyword to focus on in those two statements is KNOWINGLY. Being KNOWINGLY IGNORANT is an advantage over mere ignorance. Here’s the key difference. I can consciously shape my destiny if I know what I don’t know by choosing to either dig deeper into an area of my ignorance or not. I can only make that choice if I’m knowingly ignorant. If I’m ignorant of my own ignorance, then my options will always be limited.
You never know, I could get into a Slumdog Millionaire type of situation where $500,000 rides on knowing the difference between Keynesian and Austrian economics. Maybe knowing the difference between economic theories would help me solve world hunger? Maybe it’ll help me get my next job or make me a million dollars? Who knows?
Here’s the point: I’m very aware that I don’t know the difference between those two economic theories, but KNOWING that I don’t know gives me an advantage over not being aware at all. Being knowingly ignorant is an advantage over being ignorant of my ignorance because being knowingly ignorant gives me a choice – and a chance.
If I know that I don’t know, I can choose to educate myself, gather information, learn new skills, research and explore. If I don’t know what I don’t know, then I can’t begin to address anything until someone or something exposes me to my own ignorance.
Of course, I’m mindful of the fact that I can’t know it all, and I don’t even want to. The saying, “ignorance is bliss” has some merit and the burden of too much knowledge has been philosophized over many times. Being a “know-it-all” is also a waste of the remaining time I have on this planet. We’re all bound to be ignorant to some degree, even though we can always do better.
Listen. You’re IOI. We all are. So, try new stuff. Try different stuff. Expose yourself to new things, new people, new ideas, and new ways of seeing the world. Get out and explore. Get a taste of everything you possibly can so you can know what you like and don’t like, what you love and don’t love. At least know what you want to be knowingly ignorant about.
Ignorance of ignorance is unavoidable, but we can improve our awareness quotient (AQ) through travel, exploration, through exposure to new ideas and reading things outside our regular domain. Awareness of Ignorance or AOI at least gives you options to go further or not. AOI provides opportunities for growth and expansion, even if you decide not to take them, and those opportunities will expand proportionately to your awareness.
You’ll always have a shot with AOI, but you don’t stand a chance with IOI. And the only way you can deal with IOI is to push your limits and boundaries, go outside your comfort zone, and get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Think about this: Why would you explore and make yourself uncomfortable on your own? Why make yourself learn after you’ve already been to school, you’ve been to college, and you’ve graduated from your trade school or earned your masters degree? Why stretch yourself when everything is all good, and there’s no apparent problems on the horizon? Why even address IOI, and move into AOI?
I’ll tell you why in two words: other people.
If you go beyond yourself and continue to grow and develop yourself, you will be able to do more for others. You’ll be able to connect better to others and strengthen already existing relationships. You’ll have more options to make a difference in others’ lives. And ultimately, what else are you here to do?
And if you choose to stay in IOI? Well, you won’t have to look hard for IOI effects. Look right in your home, maybe in your extended family, at work, or in your community. Crime, poverty, exploitation, domestic violence, destructive competition, stress, depression, obesity, unhealthy relationships and many problems we face are the collective effect of IOI.
Choose to know, choose to grow. That’s all.
Butt-Naked Abundance 2.0
I hate the first version of BNA. Some of my best ideas are captured in my journal, but never made it to the digital pages of that book. Ever since I’ve started ‘reality blogging’, I’ve decided that my personal blog would be my platform for Butt-Naked Abundance 2.0.
The whole point of Butt-Naked Abundance is to prove that anybody can generate abundance out of nothing, and in order to prove that, I have to prove it to myself first. That means living it myself and making a deliberate effort to implement the concepts in the book on a daily basis, not just when I feel like it.
You, dear reader, have been privy to BNA 2.0 all this time. You’re witnessing the foundation, and when the time comes, the explosion. So, BNA 1.0 will not even look the same by the time 2.0 rolls out and I can’t wait.
I’ll be looking to reveal MORE of the strategies, tactics, and the “why” behind my efforts in the coming months, and they will be the basis of the next iteration of the book. I hope you stick around.
I’m about to release “Global Transformation, One Person At A Time”. It’s a short manifesto on how we can change the world one person at a time. It covers how to do it from a strategic perspective, and leaves the tactics up to the reader. I always thought that sharing principles, showing the big picture, and developing strategies is far more important than tactical “how to’s”.
Once I read Krishnamurti say, and I’m paraphrasing, if you are asking “how” then you’re just not serious enough or you don’t want it bad enough. He wasn’t talking about technical instruction, like building a house or fixing a car. He was referring to someone with a so-called mental block or psychological ‘barrier’ towards a specific goal.
“How do I stop being shy around women?”
“How do I follow my dream when it goes against my parent’s wishes?”
“How do I leave this abusive relationship?”
Sometimes you just have to decide when enough’s enough. When your desire is powerful enough, you’ll stop asking “how” to do something and just start. So what are you waiting for??
Anyway, look for the release of the manifesto this weekend or next. If you read the 8 Life Pillar Manifesto, then it’ll look really familiar, but with a few tweaks and updates.
I started my work as a Career Coach this past week, and the training and information gathering is taking some time. I’m enjoying the work so far, and the people seem truly dedicated and professional, and they still keep it light. What more could I ask for?
Oh, and no more 60 hour work weeks for me — I’m keeping a strict schedule. When the work day is over, it’s over. Sure I still think about work after I leave, but it’s not carrying over into my personal life like before – a sure sign of wisdom oozing slowly into my life 🙂
Since I started working, I put my coaching services on hold over at Wake Up Smiling. No need to overwhelm myself at this time, so I will phase that service back in as the book hits a steady flow. WTF needs my attention now, and I will spend some time on it this week.
I’ve been adjusting to my new schedule, including a commute, and I’ve given myself time to relax and get some perspective on where to fit the book project in my schedule. I’ll have a better idea by the end of this week, and will spend this weekend knocking those two chapters out. The first two chapters have been the most difficult for me, because they set the stage for the entire book. Once they’re finished, I think the rest will flow like water.
Finally, I’m considering blogging WTF (the book), and drip-feeding it on the blog over at Wake Up Smiling. I may have mentioned this to you before, but it’s still on my mind. I’ll keep you posted.
See ya next week (maybe).
Paul “AQ of 127 and rising” Campillo