I'm working very hard to know nothing...

In one form or another there is a good chance you have seen the following quote if you’ve ever Googled Socrates or surfed for what seems to be an infinite number of motivational quotes —

“And in knowing that you know nothing, that makes you the smartest of all.”

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You can’t but get philosophical when you spend some time thinking about this — the vastness of what you don’t know in the context of the universe is incomprehensible, and to think otherwise is at the very least limiting. More realistically though it’s just sorta stupid to believe you can actually know very much of anything; with 225 billion galaxies (and counting) how could you possibly imagine that you do? Of course you need to know things to make it through the day or maybe just to push back the insignificance that comes with 225 billion galaxies. But in the end, what you know is truly insignificant to the point of knowing nothing.

For someone who is always striving to look outside his small bubble and see things differently, I find this quote to be a simple instruction to that end (although I will admit it can be a challenge to execute on) — In knowing you know nothing you are in effect removing the blinders to improve your ability to know. It’s all very counter intuitive if you ask me.

When you allow yourself to know nothing you —

  • Tear down preconceived notions

  • Push back bias

  • Break habits

  • Push back fear

  • Ask questions to learn more

  • Understand others better

  • Consider something you have never considered before

  • Listen more and interrupt less

  • End up knowing more

As I’ve suggested this is something that doesn’t come easily for me, but I have found that if I start the day telling myself that I know nothing or start a conversation from a place where I know nothing, I find that I see and learn much more than I thought possible.

As I like to say though (with a knowing smile), I’m a work in progress.

iamgpe

Energy, a Catch 22, and I suppose a good problem to have.

An opportunity cost is defined as something that is given up in order to acquire or achieve something else, and it’s something we deal with each day as we decide what needs to get done. Maybe it’s just me but I’ve always looked a this as an exercise in terms of time management — I don’t have time to do both so I have to pick one; mix in a little prioritization based on ROI, and “presto”, you have the to-do list to “make all your dreams come true”.

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Recently it seems (in fact more and more ) I find myself with the time but literally saying to myself, “I just don’t have the energy”. What is shocking about this is it’s with respect to something I enjoy doing, and more specifically, my blogging and engagement on my social media platforms. And where this gets even crazier, my blogging and social media activity is a crucial component to my plan for success.

I find myself in an interesting situation where the success I’ve seen from my blogging and social media activity is directly impacting the energy needed to blog and engage — what kind of hellish “circular situation” is going on where my blogging leads to success and that success very impacts my ability to blog. I think I am actually experiencing a real life “Catch 22”.

catch-22 [catch-22] NOUN —a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

By any definition this is what is called a “good problem” and I’ll work through it (with a smile on my face). As I dig into this I’ll need to look at what I’m actually doing to ensure I haven’t fallen into the habit of engaging with “non value added time wasters” (I mean, do I really need to watch that YouTube Top 10 best movie endings video); I’ll also review my time management/and efficiency to determine where I can improve. As I continue to ponder this situation though, what has really had me take pause is the consideration of the Energy to proverbially drive the engine and keep it going. It seems I have completely disregarded this.

A plan + OPEX +Time + Energy = Results *

Although there are some considerations I can come up with off the top of my head (such as getting enough sleep, eating properly, getting enough exercise, being mindful, meditating, not have your smart phone on your night table, et cetera), I realize I’ll need to expand my knowledge and understanding of this topic… as well as break some old habits because as you know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

At the core of this (and I know to be an absolute truism) — if I don’t deal with this good problem it could very easily become a bad problem.

iamgpe

* Yes it could be easily said this is too simple of an equation and doesn’t really illustrate the complexity of getting something done but I believe it’s directionally sound. I should also mention I just included OPEX to keep my finance friends happy.

Thoughts on getting people to rallying around an idea...

I almost wrote that the only time we aren’t generating ideas is when we are sleeping; I then smiled with the recognition that we dream. Although I have absolutely no research to back it up, I am going to throw it out there that we give rise to ideas all the time — 24/7.

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Many of these ideas go nowhere because they’re unrealistic, they’re forgotten, or have no real commitment to make them happen. But there are also many ideas that just need some support to make them become a reality — and some ideas will need a number of people to be involved. These people will either support your idea, won’t stand in its way, or help with the heavy lifting.

Since it seems I’m always trying to help push an idea forward or watching people do the same, I thought I would offer some thoughts on rallying people around an idea to move it forward. For right or wrong, I’ve come up with five considerations.

The Articulation of your Idea — The idea that is in your head needs to be put in to words so it can be shared with others, and although obvious, isn’t always easy. To start with, the idea needs to be a solution to a problem and articulated as such; there is nothing worse than having someone suggest your idea “seems to be a solution searching for a problem” — if this happens, either it’s truly a bad idea or you haven’t articulated your idea’s value well enough. In my experience it’s important to get your idea down in writing and wordsmith the language to articulate the idea, the situation, the problem it solves for, the benefits it offers, who will be interested, and the opportunity. This language then needs to find its way into a thirty second elevator speech, a one page brief, a formal presentation, video, podcast, and frankly any other format that may be needed to help share your idea.

Your audience — I suppose it would be fair to say your audience is everyone because you never know who someone knows, but you will want your message aligned to the audience. Your audience will fall into five categories —

  • People whose support you need (approval, financial, cheerleading)

  • People who will help you make the idea a reality

  • People who don’t care

  • Detractors of your idea

  • People who may stand in the way of making your idea a reality.

It may seem the last two groups are the same but I would suggest there’s a subtle difference as a detractor simply thinks it’s a bad idea whereas someone standing in the way may be doing it for no other reason then they don’t know what is happening and want to be part of the discussion.

Frequency of sharing your idea — Share as often as you can. This of course will be situational and needs to be in alignment with the audience, the situation, and how you are articulating you idea. People will respect your passion but context is everything.

Feedback and adjustment — With all this communication it will be important to stop and listen to what is being said by others. The belief in your idea (and the passion that surrounds it) will make you somewhat deaf to what others say, and it is important to fight through this. You will search out very smart and knowledgeable people (or should be), and it would be silly not to listen to them.

Action — Nothing gets people involved more than seeing something happening. It is important to make your idea alive in a tangible way, even if it’s baby steps to the final goal. It may be hard for people to grasp an idea, but they can literally grasp a “prototype”. Do something more than just talking about it.

And one more thing… Don’t ever give up, unless of course it’s a bad idea.

iamgpe