Sometimes what I don’t know is a better reason for action.
This is somewhat of a two part thought so bear with me, I’ve often found four words to be incredibly frustrating to me when I either hear them or say them myself.
I Don’t Know How…….
What is this? In the context of hearing them being frustrating I find it often simply means “I don’t want to” or “I don’t know how and I don’t care to learn”. It seems often to be a quick and simple cop out or way of avoiding an unfavorable task. Sometimes, this can simply be a quick and easy way of avoiding something out of fear or anxiety surrounding the possibility of failure.
A quick and dirty yet incredibly effective tactic in avoidance that often results in success. I would classify this as “efficient” but, what has someone efficiently accomplished? I would be a liar to say I myself haven’t used this wonderful tactic in my lifespan and it seems so efficient that I could not even remember when. It is when a person uses this tactic on a constant basis with intention and awareness of it’s efficacy that I begin to gnash my teeth.
The idea that I could shrug off responsibility or opportunity for personal growth with four simple words is baffling to me sometimes. There is that whole hubbub about four letter words, how about the four word phrase? I simply cannot understand what propels someone to be content in stagnation and I do understand that to state this is quite hypocritical of me for reasons that I will get into some other time.
Let me give you some back story real quick, I managed to build a very successful career as well as become prominent in what I will call a more academic community both without any formal training, qualifications, or initial “knowing how to”. I accomplished this through opening myself to learning, general curiosity, the will to progress, and yes a lot of hard work and sleepless nights. I struggled and scrambled, dealt with condescension, accepted and examined a lot of criticism, and a lot of failure. I took risks and learned how to talk to people well above my level and more importantly to listen to those people even if I disagreed.
I did this through action
I would have had a much easier time simply being content to sit and play video games, watch television, sleep, or just sit on the couch eating chips and staring at the wall; all the time making big plans on what I was going to be or do in my head. Instead I took action reading and networking, going out of my way to network with people and get my hands on whatever tools I could to learn by myself. I have taught myself a broad range of things from information technology to microbiology and even cooking. I did this through action.
I’ve also managed to destroy much of this over time but again, more on this in future posts. The point is had I said “I don’t know how to” and left it at that I don’t think my life would be so fulfilling, I have met many amazing people on my journey and experienced so many things that a lot of people out there may never get the chance to, and for that I am grateful all by avoiding those four words and using action. Imagine for a minute if as babies and toddlers we were to use this cop out to avoid learning things such as how to eat, talk, use the restroom, walk, etc. I do not think we would get very far. And if the forefathers of invention such as Tesla, Edison, Newton, Aristotle, and so on, had they used these words as a cop out instead of a reason for exploration I would not be typing this now.
This of course brings me to explore the second part of this thought, the use of “I don’t know how to” as a means of inciting curiosity and solution finding. My opinion here is that this exhibits itself more internally as a thought rather than externally as a statement. That is to say it occurs when someone sees a rough goal or vision to reach and realizes that at present there is no knowledge of how to get there. When this opportunity appears the miracle can happen should that person decide to take action.
Having typed that thought out and analyzing it further I now wonder if I should have even used that fork in the road in this post. The initial part of the post was meant to explore my frustration of “I don’t know how to” as a cop out or excuse, this second part I believe has more to do with a much longer string of words “I don’t know how to but, I think”. The simple addition of three words changes the dynamic a full 180 degrees don’t you think?
I always hated bullshit affirmations such as “Thomas Edison said I found 2000 ways not to make a light bulb I only needed to find one way to make it work”, seriously?? First off every time I see the quote the number is different, secondly I’m not Thomas Edison but what does this say for my own mentality? Am I really open to failure or should I brush them off as simply finding ways that don’t work? I not only value but thrive on learning if I look at failure as a means to learn in this manner then I should seek failure should I not? I think we should take every opportunity to learn from failure but place our energy into seeking knowledge through success.
In any case, of the myriad of thoughts whipping through my head I decided to reach out and grab one and you got what I grabbed. Whether through success or failure, action or complacency, I hope at the end of my days I can look back at a fulfilling life.