At first sight, mastery seems to imply knowing all there is to know about a subject. Is that ever possible though? Is any subject bounded? Or does every topic just grow and grow as we get to know it?
Often it’s resourceful to assume we know nothing in a situation, to empty our minds, and be curious. Actually, that’s not so easy to do. It’s not so easy to eliminate our assumptions and be mindful of our beliefs, which are only that, beliefs, how we interpret what we experience. Nevertheless aiming for a “know nothing state” can help us see a situation clearly and give us the best chance of an effective response.
So we’re OK with not knowing. It’s OK to realize we need to know X, but we only know Y. It’s OK to live with a gap between what we know and what we’d like to know. In fact, it’s more than OK, it’s a fundamental part of personal mastery and a vital attitude in an organization or a family that learns.
Even as we work to close the gap, of course, new horizons appear in a never-ending process of discovery.
How comfortable are you with not knowing? How well do you model that for others – colleagues, children, friends, bosses even?