Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Don’t Know ....

Today, I had the opportunity to sit in one of the so called “business development” workshop. Technically, I was not among the participants. More like an “uninvited participant” but a keen listener nonetheless. It is true what some people says everyday in every way we can learn something.

There I was, “intu-intu” on the fringes of the “high powered” group of people, so “high powered” the young speaker himself was in awed and had sleepless night scared of his audience. If he was telling the truth that is. Come to think of it, he was right. There, in that room, most if not all, are the people responsible for the physical development of this beloved country of ours.

Not expecting much from this young speaker and in the subject I thought I know well as I have been acquainted with it for many years, I was twiddling away at the new toy. Must be the ego doing the rounds. What can such a young guy teach such a high powered group of people, I thought.

To my surprise, I always like surprise especially the nice and wonderful ones, not the nasty ones, this guy had a lot to share. A lot of knowledge to impart. Well at least, the parts where I was in the room as an uninvited participant that is. He talked about how there are three categories in what we know. The first two, which constitutes our ego, are things that we know and the things we know that we don’t know. We can always learn, read about the things we know that we don’t know. But these are just small portions of the “knowing” world. What is worrying is the part where we don’t know that we don’t know. That seems to be the biggest portion by a long run.

So what can we do about the things we don’t know that we don’t know? Some says who cares. If I don’t know that I don’t know, why bother. We may not even realise it. So why worry? Why bother? Why burden ourselves with what we don’t know that we don’t know? Life is simple why make it complicated with what we don’t know that we don’t know. Confused and seeing stars with endless phrase after phrase of what we don’t know that we don’t know? May be we don’t know that we don’t know how important are the things we don’t know that we don’t know. May be....

Well, let’s put this into a decision making process. The best decision will always be an informed decision. An informed decision is always based on “full facts”. But how do we know we have the full facts? Some, a lot in fact, will add a disclaimer at the beginning or the end by saying “to the best of my knowledge”. This statement alone is an admission that the person does not have ALL the facts. May be it is impossible to have all the facts. But maybe it is not impossible to do all we can to get all the facts. To get as much information and facts as we can to help us in our decision making. In short, things we know, things we know that we don’t know and especially the things we don’t know that we don’t know. How can we do this? To be honest, I don’t know myself. Well at least, this is one of the things until today I don’t know that I don’t know.

The speaker suggested everyone to be more inquisitive as a way of increasing our knowledge especially in knowing the things we don’t know that we don’t know. We all can try this but in our culture we must be extra careful not to end up being too inquisitive ending up being nosy, being busy body. This reminded me of something I learned many years ago, also in one of my intu-intu times in one of self improvement talks. Honestly I came for the free supper but ended up with one of the best things I learned in life.

Everyone knows having power can bring you a long long way in life. But what is really behind power? Money? Brawn? Weapons? The answer we got that night was none of those obvious things. Knowledge is the most important, if not the main basis of POWER. We can get knowledge through many ways. We can pay to attend courses, buy books. All these need precious dollars and cents. But we may end up with knowledge that is not that useful to us and skint at the same time. Some may say all form of knowledge is always useful. That’s for another time. The speaker, a lady speaker if my memory serves me right, suggested to us to set a daily target. Set a target of everyday to be in contact with five people with the knowledge and information we need. Networking, keeping our eyes and ears open whenever we meet people. Another is by having a network of reliable sources, just like the CIA and KGB with their extensive network of spies and agents but in a much much smaller scale. A mini James Bond of some sort. Surely, we will gain important knowledge. Free knowledge.

To summarise this endless rambling, whatever we do, however we go about it, we must try to learn something every day. As the famous saying on the radio says, “SEHARI SEPATAH KATA”. Or we may end up with bigger than usual portion of “we don’t know that we don’t know” pie.

Thank you Mr Young Speaker. Thank you for making us put aside our egos and realise there is alot of important things that we don’t know that we don’t know......

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