It is true that the avid among us make it our business to get to the highest possible level of "know," one way or another, over time. But, at least for me, there is pleasure in the unexpected glance at the unknown. It keeps us leaning forward. Leaning forward is positive.
Last week, I was listening to a certifiably smart person talk about social media and technology, and I had that feeling we've all had. It's that moment when we realize the drone in our ear is the same re-shaped, re-colored spiel we've heard a hundred times, just punched up by the particular personality and inflection at hand. For a minute, I was truly bored. It was nothing terrible -- just that sensation of same old song playing on. And, on. We got through it, but engagement and curiosity levels remained in neutral.
Then, a few days later, a friend sent me a promotional bit on a new book being released by a smarty-pants friend of his. I yawned as I dutifully clicked on the link. But then, caught by what seemed to be a new position, I realized when reading the bit, how interested I was in what this man had to say. There were hints that he might bring a new point of view, a whacky lens or at least a well-shaken lexicon and ability to carve out fresh conversation. Sometimes it is that glimpse of raw turf that creates a welcome sense that someone might take you into some unknown territory. To me, this moment always is more enthralling than the one that results in, "Yep. Yep. Yep."
Not Knowing Often Inspires Progress
So, over the past few days I've been thinking about a few things I consider to be lurking in the unknown that, in fact, I am quite alright having persist. This is not a long piece today, but I just wanted to share these open questions as a musing on this whole idea of knowing and mastery:
So, like many of us, I will continue to be attracted to and work with people who are honest enough to know what they don't know but steadfast in their quests to get flush on "the know." There is a certain importance to keeping an open field on curiosity. I've often said that mastery is overrated. It is also elusive. In many ways, within what we do, if we expect to keep up real progress -- it should be. It will always be OK to have a new and daunting something not to know.