Many may think that ignorance is a detestable condition, and that it would be advisable to avoid it, to educate oneself, to be aware of “what’s out there”. In fact, it goes without saying that the more you know about a subject, the better prepared you will be to deal with the problems that arise on a given subject.
But, beware, ignorance is not the same as stupidity. Sometimes, it is convenient to accept it and, in fact, take advantage of it to improve our situation. Let’s see how.
Ignorance allows new points of view
Many times, when one is immersed in a business in a specific niche, one becomes stagnant and has typical visions of it. We can prove it: if we pose our problems to someone who knows nothing about them, it is possible that, from their ignorance, they will give us original answers.
Or at least deviations from the usual answers. Logically, this can be risky in certain projects or situations, but it can also be a source of inspiration: to turn to intelligent people, who know how to think, and raise our problems. Even if they know nothing about our niche, they may give us valuable logical advice that we, too immersed in the problem, are not able to see.
Don’t be afraid to show your ignorance
It’s clear: no one likes to appear ignorant or weak. We like to show what we know, and act according to what we know. Especially where we are paid for our work. In fact, in office environments there is always a lot of competition and “weakness” is frowned upon.
Now, in many cases, an act of honesty is key. If we receive an assignment and we really don’t know how to approach or develop it, it is much better to say that we don’t know how to do it and have someone help us / explain how to act, than to try to solve the problem without the necessary tools at hand. In the long run, saying we don’t know something can help us learn more, and better.
Don’t stop asking what you don’t know
Questions are important for learning and expanding knowledge. Do not stop asking them. What you should avoid are questions that are too obvious, or questions with “more questions” or awkward questions. However, it is best to ask the full battery of questions that come up before going ahead on your own, even if they seem silly.
On many occasions, asking a silly question might seem stupid. But at the same time it shows that we are interested, that we want to know. When working with bosses or clients, it is better to ask all the questions that come up than to keep quiet because we think it is a stupidquestion.
Ignorance as a tool to learn more
All new projects have a lot of elements that we don’t know. It is impossible for us to know everything about something that is starting or has just started. Going into a problem with the attitude “I already know everything, I’m going to go ahead” can be a mistake in the medium term. On the other hand, approaching a problem free of prejudice and with the ability to say “I don’t know this” or “I don’t understand this” will actually help us to better understand what we are dealing with.
So, once you recognize your own ignorance about something, the next step begins: how to fill that gap and fill it with knowledge. Starting with a problem you don’t understand, you can ask questions or you can research what others have done in the same case, and so on.
If you had not initially recognized your ignorance, you would not have had the opportunity to learn something new.