I don’t know what I don’t know, but what I do know is _______.
Isn’t that true?
Each time we open our mouths to talk about anything, we think we know it.
Maybe not ‘know it all’, but we know something about that subject, enough to speak our mind.
The more confident we become in our ‘knowing’ the more outspoken we are, the more confidently we state our case.
Nothing in that dynamic deals with the breadth, depth or totality of what we don’t know.
Which is not to say we should clam up just because we have incomplete knowledge on any subject, but maybe we should preface our remarks more often with “Based on what I know, _______” or, “My well informed opinion is _______”.
Shooting off my mouth is something I’ve done from an early age, but it has always been because I thought I was right, because I was sure of what I was talking about. The older I get I realize I have access to more information than ever yet the totality of what I don’t know has grown enormously too.
Speaking out has two components: what we say and who, if anyone, is listening.
So often these days in columns like this one and the entire social-media world there is always someone listening. And we don’t know who they are. I’m not sure whether ‘who they are’ is particularly important but I think the correctness and accuracy of what I say, what I write and what I shout ought to be more carefully considered.
Which is not to say I should be silent or that anyone should be. We should be as confident and bold as ever, with more pauses in our process to check, to research, to consider other opinions and to be more sure – which brings with it the likelihood we’ll discover, sometimes, that we could not have been more wrong in what we were saying or writing or shouting. I know I have …