The more I know, the less I seem to know! [FUTURE THINKING]

Huh?  Come on, think about it!

….I’m waiting….

Thought about it?  Here it is again:

“The more I know, the less I seem to know”

“Jonathan”, I hear you say, “what on earth on you on about?”

Well, as you know many of my blog posts are about self improvement, personalities, life, the universe and everything (sorry, couldn’t resist a little Hitchhikers Guide) and so the phrase above relates to this.  More specifically it relates to a topic I’ve discussed before ‘Future Thinking‘.

How does ‘The more I know, the less I seem to know’ help with ‘Future Thinking’?  Give me five minutes to explain.

I think it is fair to say that if you are an open minded individual, one who has a good attitude in life, one who is not obnoxious and full of self importance; then you will be a more rounded and happy person.  You will be someone who takes life as it comes and doesn’t get too upset when things don’t always go to plan.  Likewise, to be a ‘Future Thinker’ you need to be aware of surroundings, you need to be doing and thinking about things now so that your future is better (later).  With me so far?  Read that paragraph again if not.  Go on, do it!

“The more I know, the less I seem to know”

Brief history (early I.T. years)

I’m going to give you a brief  history of part of my life to help explain the sentence above. I coined this phrase many years ago just a few years after I had changed career from one that was predominantly retail to one in I.T. (computers and stuff).

Around 1993/1994 my uncle presented me with my first computer! You could not believe my joy when I saw the box sitting there on the table waiting for me to take it out and plug it in!  So, opening the box I was a little dismayed to see a lot of incomprehensible separate pieces of what I assumed at the time were ‘My computer’ (you like that joke? ‘My Computer’? Yeah? Ah, never mind).  Anyway, I turned to my uncle with a questioning look on my face.  The answer was that this was my computer but that I had to put it together first!

Well, after several hours of blood, sweat and tears (well, sweat and tears anyway) I managed with my uncle’s help to get a working Windows 3 PC up and running!  I was over the moon!  It was a glorious moment!

Side note

I have always felt that sometimes we learn best when we have to fix something.  And believe me, we had a lot to fix in that first computer!

Brief history (early I.T. years) continued

Anyway, I started to get good at computers and operating systems and software etc.  I did a course or two and after a while felt that I was probably one of the best around, and certainly one of the best in amongst the people I knew. A little bit of obnoxiousness had started to creep in.

Brief history (eye opening)

So I thought I was good enough now to get a job in computing and I did! But very soon I began to realise that there was more and more to learn in I.T. and computing than the stuff I knew about the ‘personal computer’.  I was now working in a large company and I was now supporting many customers with their business, mission critical computers, networks, databases and so on!  I was overawed by what I had to learn but felt I could do it.

Brief history (eye opening part two)

From that first job in I.T. I took another job and once again I had to go up another gear and it was about that time when I coined the phrase “The more I know, the less I seem to know”.

I now realised with embarrassed humility that I knew relatively little about my chosen profession and that’s how the expression came about.

Putting the expression to good use

Really, the more I know, the less I really do seem to know!  I have spent the last fifteen years learning various aspects of I.T. and computing and some might say I’m pretty good at it, but even now I still hold true to that phrase, that expression.  But what use is it?  Surely it could make you give up with an exclamation of ‘what is the point in carrying on?’.

No. If you have a positive attitude in life, then great, but this can lead to an obnoxious, I’m perfect, I can’t be beaten approach.  While I applaud those who have confidence and ability in life, I would like to warn everyone reading this that sometimes ‘pride comes before a fall‘.

To be a future thinker means that you can be confident in yourself, you can believe in your qualities and skills but that you are also aware that there is so much in life that we do not know. That there is so much in life to learn, so much in the universe, so much about us, about our personalities that we are unaware of.

To be a future thinker means that while you strive to be the best, to do well, to be the best person you can be (etc), you also have a sensible attitude of “the more I know, the less I seem to know”.

Keeping this in my mind over the last fifteen years or so has enabled me to think on many occasion ‘hmmm, I wonder if there is more about this that I don’t know?’ and thereby making me safer from my own stupid actions, embarrassing decisions and therefore contributing to a better future.

I am nowhere near perfect. But there are many many people out there who seem to be doing this so naturally that it drives me mad.  But I am trying. Everytime I mess something up, I have to remind myself that:

“The more I know, the less I seem to know”