Know You Don’t Know
When you were a kid, you couldn’t wait to be an adult. Without realising how lucky they were to be able to play all day, every kid looked forward to growing up. To not having a bed time, to making their own rules, to being totally in charge of everything they did. To making their own plans, to doing only what they wanted to do and, ultimately, to knowing what was going on at a level that children never really do.
And now you are an adult. You pay your own bills and rent. You have your own job. You’re largely responsible for your own behaviour and wellbeing. You don’t have a bed time. As such. You can’t sleep in all day because you have work and whatnot. But technically you don’t have a bed time.
But you still don’t know as much as you thought you would.
And it’s not a matter of a lack of education. And it’s not because you don’t make an effort to be knowledgeable and wise. Because you are an intelligent human being and you keep up to date with important world news.
But you still feel like you don’t know a lot. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world. So much that you can’t really get a grip on things. There are a lot of things that you thought would be sorted by now. But you’re still unsure of so many of them that you’re starting to wonder if you ever will be.
It can be a disheartening feeling. It can make you wonder if you’re cut out for life as a grown up.
And that feeling is downright scary.
If you can’t be a grown up, how are you going to cope with, you know, all of the rest of your life?
Sadly, there is no trick to knowing. There is no way of shaking off that feeling. There is no point in your life when that will go away.
You will always not know.
And accepting that is the key to getting over it.
You are human. You cannot know everything there is to know. You cannot know what people are thinking. Or feeling. You cannot know where people go when they die. It’s not a matter of learning these things. You can learn how to be intuitive about these things, but they are not things you can learn for sure.
You are infallible, like every other human on this earth. You are not omniscient. You are imperfect and you make mistakes.
Assuming that you know everything because you are old enough to know now is something that children do. It is why teenagers argue so much with their parents. It is why people don’t stop making the same stupid mistakes until they are middle-aged.
Being an adult, and functioning well as one, is about admitting when you do not know. It is about being willing to accept that you do not have all the answers and about being able to ask for help when somebody else does.
Choosing to ask someone else’s advice when you do not know is one of the clearest signs of maturity. It shows that you have accepted the limits of your knowledge and ability and are not ashamed of that. It shows that you understand that no one person can do everything alone.
It shows an awareness of self that few people achieve until something terrible happens.
You don’t know everything. Nobody does. Anyone who says they do, is deluded. They are not the kind of people you should be trying to impress.
So be imperfect. Be honest and be you.