The Power of Ignorance
Knowledge is power.
How many times have we heard this one? It’s one of the battle cries of our society. It’s an idea so obvious, so undeniable, that few ever give it a second thought. We don’t just seek knowledge, we worship it. Even Socrates, a wise man if ever there was one, said, “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.”
If only it were that simple. The truth is that Socrates was wrong, and here’s why. First, the pursuit of knowledge often becomes an end in itself. Too many people are living their lives as if they’re just “one secret away” from being able to take action. One secret, one book, one seminar, one whatever away from having the knowledge it’s going to take for them to succeed. Then, and only then, will they attempt to do the things they wish to do with their lives. Of course, they never quite achieve the state of knowledge they’re seeking. Why? Because it doesn’t exist.
In his book If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him Sheldon Kopp points out that “All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data.” Notice that he said all important decisions, not some, many, or even most. All of them. If we take tis reasoning a step further, we can easily infer that all endeavours we undertake must be made in the same way – based on insufficient data. In other words, no matter how much we study, prepare, or practice, some degree of ignorance is unavoidable, and accepting this is what separates those who overcome their ignorance from those who are eaten up by it.
Second, knowledge can actually destroy your power. Yea, destroy it. A few years ago, I had a conversation with a very successful entrepreneur. When I asked him to what he attributed his success, he said, without hesitation, “Ignorance.” Yes, ignorance. He said that he was grateful he didn’t know how difficult his climb to the top was going to be before he began. If he had known, he would have never begun. For him, knowledge isn’t power. Ignorance is. He’s not alone. I’ve asked the same question of other successful people, and almost without fail, ignorance ranks high on their lists of success attributes. Whether they knew it explicitly or not from the onset of their endeavours, on some level these people understood that “too much knowledge” could destroy their will to act. If they had entertained all the negative possibilities that could have befallen them before taking actin, they would never have taken action.
Third, knowledge isn’t the sole, or even primary, determining factor in man’s ability to succeed in life. To elevate knowledge above such qualities as drive, resilience, awareness, cunning, and the like is, ironically, the height of ignorance. Dr. Christopher Hyatt, in the introduction to his deliciously irreverent book, The Psychopath’s Bible, puts it this way:
You might want to read that one again, maybe even put it in a frame above your desk as I have done, because it’s a lot closer to reality than Socrate’s pithy quote. Where does this leave us? How do we satisfy our desire “to know” without losing the inherent power our ignorance often provides us?
Here’s how I do it: I remind myself that no matter how certain I may feel before making a decision, it doesn’t negate the fact that I’m basing it on insufficient data, and then, I make it anyway. When others question my decision and ask how I intend to achieve some-thing I set out to do, I reply, “I don’t know. Let’s find out.”
In other words, I practice making commitments with full awareness that I’m making them without any promise that my decision is sound or that my desired outcome is certain.
I am not suggesting that we abandon our quest for knowledge, but I am suggesting that we do not make our quest for knowledge replace our quest for achievement. To do so does not empower us; it cripples us. No, knowledge is not power. Neither is ignorance. There is, however, a balance between the two, and our power lies in finding it. The surest way to do that is not to delay taking action until one is “wise” enough to succeed but to act now and learn along the way. After all, if there is something we must learn in order to succeed, we are more apt to learn it by living life and making mistakes than by preparing to live life and hoping to avoid them.
December 11, 2020
The official jobless claims provided markets with a dour open on Thursday. The economy remains disconnected from the stock market near all-time highs. But, remember, bad news can mean good news. That’s because the worse things look, the better the chances the Federal Reserve will keep monetary stimulus measures in place. And if things get worse, a final fiscal stimulus deal may end up larger than expected.
Amidst this economic theater, expect the stock market not to drift too far from its highs, but beware for potential drops. That’s especially true with so many companies looking high-flying after the November rally. In any event, knowing how the game is played makes it easier to find profitable trades, both long and short.
Now here’s the rest of the news:
December 11, 2019
Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity, but cash is king. I don’t know if this is someone quote, but it has now become my Ownership Creed.
Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property, which may be an object, land or real estate, or intellectual property. Ownership involves multiple rights, collectively referred to as title, which may be separated and held by different parties.
The process and mechanics of ownership are fairly complex: one can gain, transfer, and lose ownership of property in a number of ways. To acquire property one can purchase it with money, trade it for other property, win it in a bet, receive it as a gift, inherit it, find it, receive it as damages, earn it by doing work or performing services, make it, or homestead it. One can transfer or lose ownership of property by selling it for money, exchanging it for other property, giving it as a gift, misplacing it, or having it stripped from one’s ownership through legal means such as eviction, foreclosure, seizure, or taking. Ownership is self-propagating in that the owner of any property will also own the economic benefits of that property.
As it should be, Darren Hardy has a few words, “Creating An Ownership Mindset”
“Until you take ownership for your life, you will always be chasing happiness.” —Sean Stephenson
What I find astonishing is that just about every message written in this blog really boils down to a single message. The message is that YOU control your own life, your destiny, and your power. That cannot be taken away from you, as it is YOUR ownership of your life! 😉