Confront Your Ignorance

If we value independence, if we are disturbed by the growing conformity of knowledge, of values, of attitudes, which our present system induces, then we may wish to set up conditions of learning which make for uniqueness, for self-direction, and for self-initiated learning.

-Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person

Every day of our lives, we find ourselves surrounded by people who know more than us. It is normal to not know everything. This is why we shouldn’t go hard on ourselves when we meet people who expect us to know more than we do. The best we can do is to confront our ignorance, which means to identify gaps in our knowledge and try to fill those gaps continuously. The “Confront Your Ignorance” pattern shows us different ways to approach when we find those gaps in our knowledge. Some of these approaches are: to read the introductory articles and FAQs, to love what you do in order to understand it better, to work with others who have more knowledge than you in a specific topic so you can learn from them, to learn in public and not in secret. As good as this pattern can be, sometimes the apprenticeship can become a problem for the team at work.

This pattern made me realize how important it is to confront and expose my ignorance. Sometimes I get too hard on myself, such that I forget that I am in a learning process and it is okay not to know everything. From now on I will write down everything I find it hard to understand and start working on getting better on those. It could be a skill, a technique or any topic, but that would be a good start towards a great future full of knowledge.

What got my attention is the fact that “Confront your Ignorance” and “Expose Your Ignorance” patterns are very close to each other. By doing a list of the things we don’t know, and the things we should know in the future, we’ll be able to learn where our gaps are, but exposing them to the world help us learn even faster, and get help from the others as well. Facing your ignorance alone leads to stubborn knowledge that never takes action, but reveals your confusion without seeing it as a question that must be answered as soon as possible. As a conclusion, confronting your ignorance is very important in our daily work, especially when our purpose is to be successful in our professions.

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