“I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing” ~ Socrates
Full Disclosure: I have to admit that the first time I heard this strategy, it didn’t make much sense to me; however, looking back now I clearly understand why.
I didn’t get it because back then was one of those bozos that would arrogantly and/or randomly string these four words together trying to look cool, and be “in the know”.
The truth is that my ignorance of this particular strategy was killing my chances of being successful at certain tasks, something that meant golden opportunities were being quickly cut off at the knees before they even had a chance to get started! These days I’d call this a crappy strategy!
The good news is that once I finally learned NOT to string these four words together, my results got better, and success came much easier than ever before. And yes, it really was as easy as eliminating one four-word sentence from my vocabulary…
So pray tell, what are these four dastardly, seething words that – when linked together – seem to induce global warming, can upset the earths gravitational axis, and worst of all, stunt our personal and professional growth? Simple – They are:
“I Know That Already”
Yep, that’s it. By finally not habitually stringing these four words together actually made all the difference for me, and it can for you too. And I caution you not to be fooled by it’s simplicity, or pooh-pooh this idea, and here’s why:
Whenever we tell ourselves that we “know something already” what we are really doing is telling our brain not to bother hearing the message, or trying to learn anything from it because – hey – why should we? We know that already! And from what I’ve seen, this can be a grave error in judgement.
For example, we all grew up knowing that “An apple a day” does what? If you answered “keeps the doctor away” you are correct. (If you answered anything else, it’s obvious you need to spend more time in (a) a doctor’s office, (b) an orchard or (c) both)
But despite our knowing that “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” how many of us regularly slide into their favourite breakfast spot each morning, and scream out “Hey Flo; get me my usual apple for breakfast, okay Hon?!” Like, no one, right?
No, instead we order three greasy fried eggs, hash browns, pancakes, toast, bacon ham and sausage, a habit that over the long run yields a far different result than the trusty Macintosh or Red Delicious the trusted family doctor recommended.
The point is this: When we think we know something, we often don’t take time to really pay it the respect it deserves or take the time to understand that maybe – just maybe – we really don’t know all there is to know about it. We figure we know it, and so we simply dismiss it and then do whatever we feel like, despite the great advice it may offer us.
And it’s this approach to ideas and concepts that – regardless of how common or simple they may appear – that often separates proactivity and open-mindedness from dismissiveness and close-mindedness. By automatically dismissing an idea with “I know that already” means that we choose the latter combination; a combination that rarely leads to success in any way, shape or form.
And so the strategy is no matter how much you think you may know about something, always accept the information about it with an open mind and heart. Because the truth is that we never truly know everything about everything, which means we can always learn something new about things we previously thought we were already well versed in – even if it’s just a little bit.
Got it? Good.
Because most of the ideas, strategies and philosophies – call them what you want – you will hear in life are probably things you’ve probably heard before in one context or another and you too, may want to dismiss them easily as something that “you already know” which I caution you not to do, and here’s why:
Just like the apple a day, these ideas – while often very simple and elementary – are powerful and life changing for those who embrace them, and apply them without fail.
I know this because of what they have done for me in my own life, and continue to do so each and every day without fail. To dismiss them so fragrantly would be to deny the opportunity of letting them work their magic, or to help get the results wanted from life. And let’s face it, that wouldn’t be a very wise move now, would it?
I didn’t think so. So do yourself a favour and don’t string these four words together, ever again. Oh, and one more thing…
All this talk of apples has made me hungry… so I’m off to the fridge!