Three powerful words

October 18, 2020

I recently overheard two intellectuals discussing the topic of knowledge. One argued that knowledge is more than just data, it’s the application of data and the other argued that the purpose of knowledge is to solve problems. Both positions are correct when an individual already possesses knowledge. What about the occasions when knowledge is not at hand? What should you do? The three most powerful words in our lexicon fits this situation perfectly and they are simply: I don’t know.

To many, these words connote weakness as our society praises those that know and it is quick to criticize those that don’t. In writing about the differences between Eastern and Western culture, author Brandon O’Brien wrote about an experience while teaching in the East where he questioned why a student did not guess at a multiple choice question, choosing to leave it blank. “If I would have guessed at the question and got it right, I would have lied because I really didn’t know the answer. The exchange left a mark on me. There is nothing wrong with not knowing an answer, the wrong is in not searching for the answer. The internet is 50 years old and provides the answer to almost every “I don’t know” situations that could arise.

The internet though is only half of the two critical resources available to us to answer the question of “I don’t know.” The second key source to get knowledge is “mentoring.” Everyone should have a mentor; someone that you can quiz on a variety of topics. Thanks to technology like the Thirty2give smartphone app, anyone can be or find a mentor. Try it today, download from Google Play store or the Apple store. It’s free. It’s okay to say “I don’t know the answer, but its not okay to search for the answer.”

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