Watching bad TV the other night. Some science fiction show set in the near future. The space ship was on its way to Venus and was experiencing a technical glitch. The engineer on the ground was called in to solve it. His response? H2IK, which stands for “Hell if I know”.
H2IK frees us from having to know everything. What a great experience. We realize that the world will not fall apart if we don’t know the answer. The Skinny Professor once told me a story about a question he was asked in class. He didn’t know the answer. He could have BS’d his way through it, and the students would never know. But he decided to answer, “I don’t know, but I’ll get back to you with an answer next week”. And the ceiling didn’t cave in. The world did not end.
In our day and age, we can’t possibly know it all. So what is important is to know what we don’t know. In other words, to have some humility.
In fact, I’ve come to believe that one of the secrets to wisdom in our modern age is not knowing the answers, but knowing the questions. If we learn how to ask the right questions, and get help from the right people to answer them, then we have a shot at success.