Do you like to know things? Would you consider yourself a “know it all,” controlling, or anal in any way? All of these things, among many others, apply to me and many people around me.
Why are we so obsessed with knowing everything? While there’s nothing wrong with knowledge, learning, and understanding – our insatiable desire to know and control stuff often gets in our way of trying new things, going for it, and being at peace in life.
I heard a great saying recently that made me laugh, “People who think they know everything are really annoying to those of us who actually do.” Sadly, many of us, myself included, relate to life and others this way.
This obsession with knowing often has much more to do with our egos and our fear of being judged or embarrassed, than it does with a sincere desire for knowledge and information. We want to control the uncontrollable: life.
What if we didn’t have to know everything all the time? What if we could let go, trust, and be at peace with not knowing? Being able to embrace not knowing is one of the most important, yet challenging aspects of life and growth. Being okay with not knowing allows us to be creative, open, and willing to live in a state of wonder and possibility, like children do. My two girls teach me a lot about the importance of not knowing all the time.
Here are a few things we can do to enhance our ability to not know in a positive and beneficial way:
1) Let Go/Surrender – Take your hands off the wheel and trust that that you don’t have to do and know everything in order to succeed and be happy. When we let go, peace and freedom can show up authentically. This can be much easier said than done for most of us. And, it’s a practice which is all about trust and not being attached.
2) Admit When You Don’t Know – Stop pretending that you know stuff you don’t know…it is stressful, annoying, and anxiety-producing. We aren’t supposed to know everything and none of us do. The easier it is for us to admit we don’t know something, the more likely we are to either learn it, let it go, ask for help, or be at peace about it. This is all about having a deep sense of self acceptance and self appreciation.
3) Seek Out Things You Don’t Know – Look for things , find stuff, and take things on that you don’t understand, , know about, or think you can’t do. Doing this builds our confidence, challenges us to expand ourselves, and gives us practice at hanging out in the unknown and uncertainty of life – which is where most real growth, change, and transformation can take place.
Remember to be kind to yourself, laugh often, and not take yourself too seriously. Most of us spend and waste lots of time and energy pretending we know things that we really don’t. When we surrender to and embrace not knowing, a profound level of freedom and liberation become possible.
Check out my related post: Do you have the long view?