How to stop being ignorant


Everything is turning digital around me and I love that. I participate in that and I feel like being part of the elite on the front line of new discoveries. Yet, I am ignorant.

First of all this feeling of being awesome is really cool but there’s a fine line between being awesome and being a douche. I feel like I am doing a balance act to walk carefully on the awesome line without falling in the douche area. I am a little scared by this feeling of working toward hypothetical awesomeness because I feel like I’m leaving people behind me. And when I learn something and look back at them I feel they are ignorant. But really… am I not as ignorant as they are?

We cannot know/feel/learn everything around us, we cannot be aware/mindful of all the aspects of our lives. At least I can’t, maybe you can. The more I focus on a subject, the more I reduce my opportunities of knowledge in other areas. The more I learn, the more I realize I am ignorant – this seems paradoxal but it is true.

And this kills me, because I don’t want to be ignorant. I am sure you don’t either.

Admit that you are ignorant

OK, I know it’s hard. You are proud of your masters degree and you think this is your passport to awesomeness. But it is not. It’s just some proof to reassure your boss that you are supposed to be good at what you are paid for. But you are ignorant as much as I am and as much as your dumb neighbour who wants to kill his dog with an empty beer bottle at 3am.

We all have different levels and fields of education/knowledge/skills. That is why your neighbour is awesome at throwing a party and you are not. (but maybe you should tell him to not kill his dog).

Once you admit you are ignorant, things get easy because you can say “I don’t know”.

Find other ignorant people

This is where it gets better. Find other ignorant people. It is easy – everybody is ignorant. The slightly tricky part is to find people that are not ignorant about the same things as you are. For instance, your Grandma is not a whiz at twitter but she is good at making cakes. This is what we call diversity and this is why the world is awesome.

Generally the more ignorant you think people are, the more complementary to your knowledge they will be. Of course you might think that you have nothing in common and it will thus be hard to develop a friendship. So here is a quick thing for you to chew on. Think of your best friends. Do they share all the same values, the same knowledge, the same skills as you? My friends don’t. We like the same music, ok… but not for the same reasons. We share pretty much the same political views but not for the same goals.

Sometimes I might think that buddies of mine are ignorant for never having stepped outside of France, but that doesn’t prevent them from being be musicians, designers, engineers, dads, soccer players… and they rock. And if I think they are ignorant in some ways, they probably think I am too.

Be tolerant

By accepting your ignorance and finding complemental knowledge in the others you will develop one the best quality you can get: tolerance. I am sorry, you cannot get less ignorant, well you can but in proportion of all human knowledge, that’s peanut.

So instead of trying to fill your brain with knowledge, just try to create an awesome network. Of course some people in your network might be weird, have weird ideas, challenge yours. And you might think that “you know better”. You may not agree with them and think they are idiots but that’s ok, be tolerant you will find something great in them sooner than you think.

Who was the last person you found stupid?

Do you think this person think you are stupid too?

Is there some good reasons for you two to despite each other?

I know you might think I am leaving in the Carebears land in the clouds, but I don’t care! Being nice, open-minded and tolerant is the best we can do for … well for humanity and for ourselves.

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  • Sandravilela

    love it

  • permanent_vacationer

    I like it. Open mind.

  • http://www.facebook.com/slinger.marshall Leo Fanelli

    I’m so ignorant i cannot even begin to address what I’m ignorant to :(

  • Ignoramus

    At 4 in the morning, I just had something of an epiphany of awareness about my own ignorance. Pacing back in forth in the kitchen as I reflected on this, I actually felt shame. I wondered if I was being too hard on myself, but then – after more reflection – I concluded that the shame that I was feeling was appropriate. If this wasn’t anonymous, I would be embarrassed to admit that I actually looked up “how to stop being ignorant” on Google, and that’s how I stumbled across your nice article. I had never heard that expression about “the Carebears land” but I liked that too.

  • naija

    Nice and very encouraging” and little did I know that feeling too egos is also”ignorance”

  • Lucius

    Hello, thank you for posting this, I’ve been having trouble with this for a very long time. Not saying things will change tomorrow but I’ll try to use your tips to guide through the future