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You Don’t Know Jack

lenz feb10A healthy respect for the magnitude of what we don’t know

Every time I start to believe I’m building an expertise in something or starting to mature into an experienced “adult”, life has a way of smacking me in the head and reminding me that “I don’t know jack.”

In general, the word “expert” has always stuck out to me. What does that word mean? I’ve always thought of it as “you know everything”. So for me, to be an expert on something is an insane achievement. You know everything? That’s crazy.

I have a hard time even imagining the reality of knowing everything about something. Under that definition, I’m not even close to an expert on anything. Often when browsing Twitter I’m exposed to so many new ideas, new topics, new thoughts that the sheer volume of shit I don’t know can be overwhelming. Even a single topic. Pick one thing. Can you know everything about even that single topic? I don’t know.

But we don’t need to know everything to contribute. Each of us as individuals adds our own unique value from the perspective of our own unique set of knowledge. No one else on the planet has the exact same combination of experience and knowledge, and the pursuit of improving that collection is called Life.

In my opinion, more important than the depth of a person’s knowledge is their self-awareness of what they don’t know. Am I an expert on Digital Marketing Platforms, Content Management Systems, or Adobe Experience Manager implementations? I wouldn’t use the word “expert”.

However, I would happily match myself up against anyone else in terms of ability to lead and execute an enterprise digital marketing platform implementation. I have depth of experience and knowledge on the topic, but more importantly I know what I don’t know. I approach each new engagement with a healthy curiosity and eagerness to find new challenging problems to solve.

The reality that there’s so much still to learn is what makes each day so exciting. So yes, I don’t know shit and neither do you, but that’s what makes life worth living.

So let’s learn something today and remain humble to the reality that there’s always so much more left to learn tomorrow.

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