The Power of “I Don’t Know”.
One of the biggest skills that I’ve acquired over time is the ability to say “I don’t know”. When a client doesn’t show up to a call or a meeting and I don’t know why, I don’t need to create a story about why he or she didn’t make it. When a prospective or an active client goes cold and doesn’t answer my calls, emails, and texts, I don’t jump to any rushed conclusions as to why or blame them or myself for the situation. I simply don’t know. When my tire blows-up on a highway at the worst possible time, I don’t need to make up an excuse to make myself feel better. I simply “I don’t know” why it blew up. When my Amazon package gets lost, I don’t need to make up a reason as to why, why me, or how. I simply don’t know.
See… What many of you don’t realize is that the mental freedom that “I don’t know” brings is priceless. Being ok with not knowing and not spending any time on making up stories in my mind, gives me the ability to quickly take action to find out what actually happened. To get the facts, to ask insightful questions, to speak to relevant people, to continue to follow up, and get to the bottom of whatever it is.
Accepting “I don’t know” as the answer in so many of everyday life situations can save you (just like myself) tons of time and energy. It reduces stress and encourages an unbiased answer-seeking instead of gossiping, hypothesizing, and (let’s be real) making stuff up.
Try this for yourself. Next time when a situation presents itself and you don’t know the answer as to why or how it happened, just accept the fact that you don’t know. Fight the temptation to make something up. Fight the temptation to blame yourself or other people. Fight the temptation to create meaning when you literally have “nothing” other than your opinion about it.
If you pay closer attention, you’ll start noticing that we (people) are driven by this crazy desire to constantly make sense of things. It doesn’t matter how big or small. We always need to find out answers and in the absence of any answers we just go on to make up sometimes the most bizarre, yet (to us) believable stories. Such stories are not factual. Make no mistake about it. Most of them are just your thoughts and opinions. They are much closer to fiction than reality. Yet we (and you) believe them to be true and will go to great lengths to build on them, to defend them, and to find other people that will believe them. That’s how unfortunately we often lose sight of what actually happens to, with, and around us. We end up misinterpreting and misjudging a lot and mistaking our opinions for facts.
So, next time you have an opportunity, accept the fact that “you don’t know” and move on to find out what actually happened. Get the facts. Get what was done. Get what was said. Separate your stories (opinions, thoughts, reasons, judgments, etc.) from the facts, and your life will get just a little bit easier, calmer, and happier.
With much gratitude,
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