Maintaining Your Ignorance


This article has been updated, and now appears on my Managing with Aloha blog.

You can read it here:

Readiness, Good Impatience, and Maintaining our Ignorance

The articles and essays I currently publish can be found on (RSS)

Thank you for your visit,

Rosa Say
Workplace culture coach, and author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawai‘i’s Universal Values to the Art of Business: Learn more here.


  1. says

    Coverups are a sign of Immaturity

    An unwillingness to be seen as ignorant is frequently an obstacle to learning. But a willingness to purge one’s mind of past acquired knowledge and start over in the learning process, frequently leads to more efficient learning and a deeper comprehen…

  2. says

    Knowing and Not Knowing

    Great advice from Adrian Savage who in addition to writing at Slow Leadership or The Coyote Within has the honor to post at Talking Story today:
    Always acknowledge your ignorance. Never allow yourself to presume to knowledge, even the little you t…

  3. says

    Adrian, you are amazing. One thing I have learned since knowing you, is that I must get myself in that “mind like water” frame of mind when I sit to read the essays you write, for just one of your essays can send waves through me, not ripples. The first two thoughts which came to mind for me in reading this were these;
    The critical importance of our demeanor, and how what you refer to as “ignorance” softens us, gives us the wisdom of humility, makes us more likeable and attractive to others engaging with us, and keeps us ever youthful.
    Second, how today’s learning wisdom may well be about “learning filters” and our practices of discernment so we can focus well and put the Pareto principle in play. For example, should this be the current strategy with vision statements and mantras for businesses, where we mantra to filter, channeling mission-driven energies into focus amongst the information overload? But then the balance, so we keep in mind your warning to prevent “encouraging rigid orthodoxy and unthinking reliance on existing ideas.”
    And this quote is nothing less than profound: “Learning does not exist to replace ignorance. It is there to add to it.” ” well see now, that’s three things already!
    I’ll be coming back to this Adrian.

  4. says

    Very insightful and fastinating read. The Open Mind and the Closed Mind…
    “Only the leader who acknowledges his or her ignorance is free to consider all options, research as many possibilities as can be found, and approach every problem with an open mind, for when we know that we do not know, our minds are receptive to new ideas and unexpected insights. Minds, like windows, can admit fresh air only when they are open. The mind of someone who is sure he or she knows the answer already is tight shut against any form of mental ventilation.”
    Mental ventalation… what a fresh concept. Thanks for opening my mind to the power of ignorance and how the Pareto principle applies to true learning.

  5. says

    Adrian, like Rosa, I found the reading of this article brought up many things for me – waves all. I too will come back to this for further absorbing (in my ignorance:).
    It occured to me as I read that the willingness to admit we know nothing and to come from a state of ignorance can be more readily done if we clear excess from our minds. So many of us are suffering from information overload we dont think we have room for anything more.
    If we occasionally take a scrubbing brush to the data banks of our mind and clear some space, press the delete button on all those outdated assumptions and paradigms, could we have a clearer mind? Could we be much more ready for the next stage of learning and growth – with a knowing about our ignorance and our readiness to learn?
    Your analogy of throwing open the windows and admitting fresh air, reminds me of the saying – “get rid of the the cobwebs” by getting outside, taking a walk, clearing our head for whatever comes next. Being in that state of ignorance can give us a fresh energy and enthusiasm for learning and life.
    It’s the first week of Spring here in Australia, and I am heeding to the natural rhythms of my life by having a big clear out of my home office. Could this also be a way of staying open to learning, by clearing out all the old detritus of the past 12 months, and looking forward to new opportunities, new ideas, new ways of seeing the world, through a fresh, clean environment?
    Thanks Adrian!

  6. says

    Hi Adrian:
    I love the insight. Ignorance truly does have its place in the journey of the lifelong learner. I often find that I’m so destination minded…that I want to find the answers. But the true joy of the journey is in realizing that there are more questions…and that there will always be more questions.
    Great post,