The Power Of Not Knowing

The Power Of Not Knowing

In just 9 letters and an apostrophe and your whole world can open up with the words:⠀

“I don’t know.” ⠀

Glorious, right?⠀

You may not think so because society has been set up to revere knowledge. To say “I don’t know” is frowned upon. Sure, there are times when ‘knowing’ something is pretty darn convenient, like the time of the last train home or how to turn on a shower…

But I mean ‘knowing’ things about ourselves, the future, what we want from life, and other people. ⠀

Knowing ain’t all that

When you know something (or – THINK you know something), you’re done. You’re cooked. There’s no room for anything else. The door of possibility has been slammed shut. ⠀

There’s a finality to ‘knowing’ something that leaves us blind to other possibilities, opportunities, chances and ideas.⠀

You know what you like ⠀

You know what *that person* is like⠀

You know how ‘this will go’⠀

You know how you feel about something⠀

You know what you want⠀

Do you? Or is ‘knowing’ just an opinion or thought in the moment, that can change at any time, particularly when fresh ideas come by?⠀

Let me say that again because it’s kinda cool: What if ‘knowing’ something is just an opinion or thought in the moment, that can change at any time, particularly when fresh ideas come by?⠀

The foundation of all things

What you ‘know’ is the foundation on which you’ll build everything else: ideas, plans, decisions, conversations, and connections. And if you already ‘know’ something, that’s a small foundation. You won’t be able to build very high. ⠀

But if you don’t know – well. That’s huge. That’s expansive. When you ‘don’t know’, anything is possible.

Let’s have some examples, shall we?

For example, I was chatting to a client who wanted to retrain as a teacher. She ‘knew’  that’s what she wanted to do so she set things in motion or pursue this. Along the way, she was offered a completely different opportunity that sounded really good but didn’t fit in with what he ‘knew’ she wanted – to be a teacher. ⠀

Or another who just ‘knew’ he didn’t want a relationship and set up life to support this. But someone was thrown in his path that made him question this. He turned his back on the chance because of what he thought he “knew”.⠀

(What happened with these two clients? They both don’t know yet and are exploring the possibilities. Awesome huh?)⠀

How does this help anxiety, overwhelm, worry and overthinking?

When we are caught up in those urgent, frenzied feelings of anxiety, worry and overthinking we (often subconsciously) think we ‘know’ how this will go. 

We know we won’t get any work done when we feel like this

We know we won’t be able to relax until these feelings fade (or, what looks like the cause of the problem in the outside world is sorted)

We know we’ll end up doing our habit or behaviour that we ‘always do’ when we feel like this 

We know we won’t be able to socialise, connect or do pretty much anything. 

Can you relate? 

When I experienced a fuck ton (the clinical unit of measurement) of anxiety and overwhelm, I had a bunch of stuff that I knew was going to happen and it made me feel kinda hopeless. Piling hopelessness on top of that shit anxiety feeling is not recommended, trust me. 

To go back to the bit I emphasised earlier…what if all experience was just a thought in the moment, that can change at any time?

Or, more accurately:  

ALL experience IS just a thought in the moment, that WILL change at any time. 

Including anxious thoughts. Include knowing thoughts. Including hopelessness thoughts. All of it. 

Take a look yourself

I wonder what could change for you if you rest in not knowing a thing or two or a million about yourself, life, or the world…