the importance of not knowing

The title might sound very counterintuitive, given mastering anything require in-depth knowledge. So how is not knowing helpful?

a) Selective ignorance. It is the practice of selectively ignoring distracting, irrelevant or otherwise unnecessary information received, such as e-mails, news reports, etc. Probably the most powerful weapon at the disposal of highly effective people.

b) Admission of lack of knowledge is the first step towards acquiring knowledge. This might sound very generic or trivial. However, it will be mind boggling to notice how many practice this in their life. Because emotion stand before reason, we tend to avoid any admission of guilt and use every chance we get to show off our knowledge, no matter how limited it is. Also, it is easy to slip up our obliviousness when we express more than we should. It is like an open wound.

Like one of 57 laws from Robert Greene’s book, it is better to keep quiet than saying more than we should.

Admission of not knowing something opens up tremendous possibilities. For one, others would be more interested in sharing their thoughts on the subject than if you had expressed mastery.


Here are some tools I use and recommend to my geeky friends (productivity apps mostly):

  • Things 3 as calendar, to-do list and planner. Keeps my head light and clear.
  • Trello Notion as a personal knowledge base, and for team collaboration.
  • SuperHuman for email.
  • Bose to avoid distraction at work.
  • Casts app to listen to podcasts. My favourite shows? Exponent and Masters of Scale.
  • Slack Fleep for team communication. (edit: back to slack. love the bots)
  • Audible for I am a big fan of audiobooks.
  • HeadSpace Calm app to meditate.
  • AutoSleep to automatically track my sleep using Apple watch. Works like magic.
  • Bear App to write.
  • Streaks because it’s a cute little app to help form new habits. Also because I believe in the power of habit.
  • WhatRuns to ‘know’ websites I visit; and because we built it 🤷