You know nothing, I know nothing, we all know nothing.

In previous pieces, I have talked about my thoughts on a range of subjects but most of them are observations about life and work. At times they read a little like advice or prescriptions but it isn’t my intention. A lot of the ideas are those borrowed from books, talks and the like and where possible credit is given (a lot of the time the ideas are a mix of various works). I enjoy learning new things every day, new skills, new ways of thinking and new ways of living. My hope is to connect with others who are the same through these efforts.

I wanted to clarify things before presenting the main idea of this post. The reason being, I am very aware that I know nothing and spend each day trying to learn even a little about the smallest of things.

On the whole, we know nothing. In the sciences, humans are perpetually trying to figure out what is going on around us. Entrepreneurs and investors are trying to figure out markets that are unpredictable. Creatives are trying to figure out their style, their audience and how they can connect. The very best in every field, relatively speaking, know nothing. We as people, try to gain specialised knowledge in an industry so that we can provide value to others in some way. That is the basic tenet of business, of art, of almost any pursuit.

Being comfortable with knowing nothing is a great advantage. It is part of what Caroline Dweck would term a ‘growth mindset’. It’s an openness to learn and a willingness to be wrong so that we might be able to progress further than we have before. It’s a gamble, but a very necessary one.

One of my favourite quotes of all time is this:

“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”

Plato

I have never read ‘The Republic’ and likely read this quoted in another book (maybe it was an Instagram post with an epic mountain landscape behind it, I don’t know). It’s easy to forget that we know nothing and we get caught up in our own ego pretty easily. I try to remind myself of the importance of this idea regularly and use it to get better each day.

Plato knew nothing, your hero knows nothing, I know nothing and you?

You know nothing. (If you added Jon Snow to that last sentence, congratulations, you are also a weirdo).