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All Knowing Isn’t Knowing

by audra

The only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing. – Socrates

Miss Olivia (my four year old) always answers queries that flummox her by saying, “I can’t know!” instead of “I don’t know”.  It’s the sweetest little Oliviaism ever! How endearing and honest for my sweet child to just let out “I can’t know!” There is wisdom in children that lack the fillers, paint, and varnish that makes most adults look complete.

This is everything.

I was raised to believe that adults are supposed to KNOW EVERYTHING; if they don’t, RESEARCH IT or GOOGLE IT!

Talk about pressure! When your kid gets sick, you can’t simply take them to a doctor. You have to find a competent doctor. This takes research, time, and lots of Googling. Hiring a contractor? Vetting out an honest one is like winning the lottery! The odds are stacked heavily against you. Googling and praying are synonymous with this.

For me, this year is about productivity and starting a new technology company, thus requiring me to learn a new language riddled with words like monetize, digital platform, and disruptive innovation. As a means of keeping my head clear and focused, I have adapted my four year old’s jargonism of “I Can’t Know” when I speak to my colleagues. Surprisingly, this works because they “DO KNOW” and are eager to help me fill in the blanks. Many times they learn something they hadn’t thought of before because I have the kind of brain that can plan ahead and am good at being predictive. I like to have some kind of map as a guide to my next steps and I like to imagine the possible future scenarios.

So, when I say “I CAN’T KNOW” not only is “I can’t know” a valid response, it’s darn liberating.  Learning that you don’t have to know everything has taught me that YOU are good enough, even when you are struggling, even when you feel like giving up. Sometimes, it is making friends with our ignorance and forging ahead by learning without pretense instead of blundering our way through that can keep us on the path. When we allow for we “CAN’T KNOW”, we open the door to knowing.

And that’s almost everything!

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