‘If you don’t know that you don’t know then you don’t know’
It seemed like a joke when my youth leader said this to our youth group. As a naïve 14 year old, I, too, joined in spreading this statement as an insider’s joke during our youth camp. Heck, we even had hand and facial gestures to put emphasis on the ‘you don’t know!’
Days quickly turned to weeks and weeks to months… months quickly turned to years and before I even knew it, this youth camp ‘joke’ became a lesson I kept repeatedly learning in my life.
The life which I thought I could study from a book, write its exam and pass proved to be absolutely far from reality.
Till this day I continue to find myself in a situation where I realize that I just learned something I previously didn’t know. I suppose this also is in unison with the wise who say ‘You never stop learning’; ‘You learn till you die’.
There is always someone who knows something better than you. There also is no shame in admitting when you don’t know something. In fact, you acknowledging that you don’t fully know something can be the best platform to enable you to learn it.
This is easier said than done because somehow society portrays to us that one who asks is weak and one who gives answers is stronger and is more deserving of respect and adoration.
Typical examples are of people who never ask for directions (even when completely lost).. or those who will give directions to places they have never been to (can you relate ).
My ultimate favorite was in Economics class when our lecturer asked ‘Do you all understand?’… and a chorus sounded ‘Yes, ma’am.’. One particular student seemed to be in discord to this chorus as he responded ‘No, ma’am’.
The lecturer continued and said she’ll explain to that student after class.
Come exam time, guess which student excelled? May I share a hint: It definitely was Not the mighty chorus 🙂
So sometimes we may need to exit our comfort zones in order to gain clarity on what we don’t fully understand. Yes, it’s mostly uncomfortable but it always pays off in the end.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with figuring things out by yourself. There’s also no weakness, no stupidity, no slowness in asking someone else.
Next time you don’t understand, ASK!