We are taught that it is best to know the answers. School reinforces this over and over— you’re supposed to know the right answer to every question asked.
It’s a painful moment to have to tell your teacher that you don’t know something that you’re supposed to know in front of all your classmates who already know it (or at least pretend to).
It’s embarrassing. It feels exposing and shameful.
The “stupid question” — as in, “This might be a stupid question, but…”— points out the places where we feel like we’re supposed to know something that we don’t.
Heaven forbid that we’re caught not knowing something in front of our friends.
Some teachers try to put our fear of not knowing to rest by telling us, “There are no stupid questions.” Yet, if everyone else knows the answer and we don’t it still feels like a stupid question.
The fear of not knowing can stick with us as we leave the education system and find our way in the world. We try to avoid getting caught not knowing and stay close to what we do know and can lean on.
It’s time to get used to not knowing [tweet this]
I’m getting better at it, slowly. I’m getting better at just trying things to see what happens. A few years ago I wouldn’t take action until I’d read everything possible about the possibilities. (Just ask Stacia how many books I checked out from the library about dogs before we took the plunge and adopted our dog, Lina!) I wouldn’t try until I knew everything there was to know, and even then I’d still be hesitant.
There are many things that I don’t know: how to build a blog, how to write a book, how to launch a cohort. All of these things are past the edges of what I know. I don’t know if I’m going about them the right way, but I’m trying.
What don’t you know that you find yourself wanting to do?
- Maybe you’d start a business, except you don’t know how to run a business.
- Maybe you’d create a product, but you don’t know how to create a product.
- Maybe you’d try to connect with a company that you love and admire, but you don’t know how to get in the door.
- Or maybe something way more interesting than any of these.
You don’t have to know how to get all the way from where you are to where you want to go. The challenge with most good things is that there’s no map. [tweet that]
It’s easier to search for answers than it is to actually do the work.
You have to make it up as you go. You get to make it up as you go.
How about you? What would you do if you only knew how? What do you put off trying because you don’t know everything it will require? Share in the comments.