The Wisdom of “I Don’t Know”

It takes a very wise person to say those three little words, “I don’t know*.”  Only 3 syllables but the implications to the ego can be bigger and taller than Mount Everest and just as insurmountable.  You know how it is.  When confronted with a question to which you don’t know the answer it’s like pulling the starter cord of the ole ego-lawn mower.  It starts shredding away at your inner peace and better sensibilities.  The mind-babble starts:

“Oh no.  I have no clue what the answer is.  I’m going to look foolish.  People will think I’m stupid.  What do I do?  What do I know that I can bend around to sound like something when all I have is nothing?  I’m going to sound like a complete idiot.”

And then we do it.  We compromise and fake it.  I’ve done it.  I’ve looked and sounded like a complete jack ass as a result.  I’ve even convinced myself I pulled it off, but that glow didn’t last very long.  All I did was lose credibility outwardly and inwardly I was strangling my own self confidence and self esteem.  It wasn’t worth it.

Over time, the realization that I wasn’t being true to myself sunk in.  I don’t honestly know why I didn’t see it all along.; the more I tried to appear like I did know, the less I felt I knew.   But my liberation was at hand.  This is what had to be.  The ego needed to burn itself out.  That’s when I realized the wisdom behind “I don’t know.”

I since have developed a deep respect for those who can say it with ownership and confidence.  It’s a beautiful thing to behold.  They know the secret; they hold the wisdom of the 3 little words.

“I don’t know” is the proverbial golden key.  The moment you realize you don’t know and you admit it at ease with honesty, your credibility receives a well-deserved polish and the door of opportunity to learn is unlocked.  Uttering those 3 words gives you the total freedom to learn anything and everything you choose to.  The possibilities are without end.  The universe is your oyster from the material to the spiritual and beyond!

So let go and be confident.  Shout from the roof tops, “I don’t know!”  A cup can’t be filled until it’s empty.  So dump out that stale ego and fill your cup with some rich and steamy information OR be content in the fact you have a nice clean empty cup ready to be filled when you choose to fill it.


*Note:  For the purposes of this article, “I don’t know” means I don’t have the information.  This is not to be confused with “I dunno” meaning I don’t want to deal with it.  The first one is honest, the second is not.


6 thoughts on “The Wisdom of “I Don’t Know”

  1. I think that’s something that confuses a lot of people. I know I have always been told I don’t know isn’t an answer, making it harder for me to find a way to let them know that I really don’t know. I see what you mean though, and I think it’s a good idea to try harder at admitting this.

    • I know for me, I heard that a lot in school; mostly from teachers with high expectations and I can respect that. “I don’t know” is a handy cop-out and no one can smell it on you like a teacher can. However, I learned after I entered the work force, it’s much better to say “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” than to try to buffalo dung your way through something.

    • What a great idea! It’s not a concept that should wait until the business world to learn. “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” is really a wonderful in itself. Thanks so much for reading.

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