Knowing What You Don’t Know — & Doing Something About It

“When I bore people at a party . . . they think it’s their fault.”

–Henry Kissinger

“Better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you’re an idiot, then open it and confirm it.

–Yiddish saying

Who says “I don’t know” more:  smart people or dumb people?

I’m pretty sure it’s the former.

I’d go even further:  what distinguishes smart people from less smart people is two things:  1) knowing what they don’t know; and 2) having the courage to admit it — and do something about it (like, asking questions or doing a little research).

In the course of overcoming their previous ignorance, a hallmark of especially smart people, ironically enough, is having the courage to risk appearing stupid.

Static or Dynamic?

People always assume that “intelligence” is a fixed attribute — like one’s height or eye color.

I disagree.

Some people obviously become more intelligent over time, through applied thinking, diligence, accumulated experience — and yes, curiosity.

Others . . . clearly don’t. 

P.S.:  Negotiating secret:  fatigued people are much less intelligent — if not downright stupid on occasion.

Which is why intelligent people know not to negotiate then, and resume when they’re well-rested.

See also, “Negotiation Strategy #101:  Is Time Your Enemy or Friend?”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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