Have you ever felt ignorant or been frustrated by not knowing what you did not know?
As an entrepreneur, with every new level our business reached, I reached a new level of ignorance. The category of how much I did not know was big to start, but as I began to discover how much I didn’t know I didn’t know… well, that felt overwhelming.
On my journey, there were some things I learned through training, or education, or coaching and instructions from others. Some things, unfortunately, I discovered only out of the pain my ignorance caused. I felt often blindsided by just how much I did not know I did not know. I ultimately ended up paying a steep price for my education.
Some level of ignorance is always a part of the ambitious entrepreneur’s journey, but it doesn’t always have to be expensive or painful.
There is a mindset shift you can use to create an advantage out of what others might find to be a limiter or disadvantage.
The more I learn on my journey of entrepreneurship, the more I discover just how much I don’t know I don’t know. But, unlike before, I actually get energized because I understand so much better now how to convert ignorance into discovery and applied knowledge. What is a scary limiter for most people can be a tremendous advantage for the entrepreneur who understands and learns how to apply.
Whether you realize it or not, ignorance is always part of the learning process. But you don’t have to be disadvantaged, limited or in any way fearful of ignorance. You have a choice to harness and use ignorance as an entrepreneurial superpower.
The power of ignorance is the very beginning of discovery as a process. It is the beginning of a path for increased knowledge and understanding. Discovery and ignorance go hand-in-hand.
The ability to utilize ignorance as a superpower starts with curiosity. Not just any common curiosity, but a relentless type of curiosity to understand and find models, analogies, and similar situations from different angles. Relentless entrepreneurial curiosity can be described as the compound interest of discovery.
At this stage of discovery, you can build on what you know, as well as learn from what you don’t know. This is the start for converting ignorance into a base of mastery. As you build on what you know, applying curiosity (aka ignorance), you are on an iterative journey of compound learning.
As you embrace what you don’t know you don’t know – but are learning and applying, you have a major entrepreneurial advantage over those who only want to know what they need to know and are satisfied with the plateau of ignorance.
Don’t fear ignorance. Embrace it and aggressively pursue learning about what you do not know you do not know. This is a process of discovery and applied knowledge to convert your ignorance into a superpower.
It is somewhat crazy when you can use discovery as an opportunity to really dive a little bit deeper taking the knowledge you have and building further upon that – while using curiosity as a springboard (to accelerate your discovery). From that, you can begin to understand what you did not know you did not know. Now that is mega-valuable, what is more… most other people do not know this either.
Once you know, you can apply and then you begin to know more. As you know more, it becomes a foundation for exponential learning and growth.
As you develop mastery and confidently know more, you’ll also become keenly aware of the increase in how much more you don’t know. If you talk to any expert in music, science or in any skill, they will tell you that the more experience and professional knowledge and skill they acquire, a corresponding realization grows for how much they still do not know. What these experts realize is the fact they have just barely scratched the surface.
Ignorance leads to discovery which leads to discover more, you will realize much more that you did not know you did not know, but then you will know, and you will be able to apply profitably.
To increase knowledge, focus on expanding your ignorance. As your ignorance expands, you begin delving into areas where you did not know what you did not know — but now you know. Discovery is a tremendous opportunity to develop ignorance as a superpower. Don’t fight it or hide it or be embarrassed by your ignorance, own it.
That said, don’t become complacent about ignorance. It is a valuable place to start, but a terrible place to stay!
-Frank F. Lunn
CEO & Founder of Kahuna Business Group