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Rants and Wisdom



In Rants and Wisdom

By lthomas

You don’t know what you don’t know (Part 3)

On 18, Nov 2015 | In Rants and Wisdom | By lthomas

Or, more on being ‘seasoned.’

So… I have been doing several things for quite a while. I have been a wife, mom, architect and a business owner. I started with a sole proprietorship and built it into a growing corporation.  Over time I’ve added to this basic list. Now I can say I’m an Italian language student, piano student, a novice triathlete, passable tennis player and watercolorist. Even this website and these essays are something of which I knew very little until recently, but now I’m a WordPress, social networking, content marketing convert. Wow. I NEVER feel like I have done much (or know what I am doing!), but when I write it all down, it kinda sounds like a lot. I think most of us don’t give ourselves enough credit for our experience until we see it put together like this.  But even as “seasoned” as I now am, guess what? I still don’t know what I don’t know.

Life-long learning is like that. You just don’t know what you don’t know. So how does anyone figure things out? How does one start a family, a business, hire or fire employees or complete a first triathlon? There really is no instruction manual for life. Imagine or remember coming home from the hospital with your first baby!

When I don’t know enough to even know where to start, I follow my gut. I always tell people to fine tune their intuition and common sense. William Duggan, author of Strategic Intuition: The Creative Spark in Human Achievement, tells us,

“Intuition is real… Expert intuition comes when you are good at something, it kicks in because you’ve been here before.” I particularly listen to my, “Strategic Intuition, the flash of insight you get when your mind is relaxed.”

I’m a big fan of quotes for inspiration and help. I even keep several of them posted in my office. One of my favorites is by Franklin P. Jones: “Experience enables us to recognize a mistake when we make it again.” Wow, I use that one a lot!  I thought I’d further raid my quote stash and share several that have helped me with this dilemma of wanting to get it right but not knowing what I don’t know. Tapping the wisdom of others is the first step in expanding our own knowledge (you can quote me on that):


  • “If you leap, if you try, and it doesn’t workout, it is not on you.”  Anonymous
  • “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett
  • “How do you eat a REALLY big cookie?  One bite at a time.”  Dell Mitchell
  • “We study Italian because we want to, not because we need to…to throw some of our precious time to the wind and do something simple for the pleasure of being able to pronounce words like piacere.”  Sarah Mastroianni
  • “Many people see artists as shamans, dreamers, outsiders, and rebels. In reality, the artist is a builder, an engineer, a research analyst, a human relations expert, a project manager, a communications specialist, and a salesman. The artist is all of those and more–combined with the imagination of an inventor and the courage of an explorer. Not a bad set of talents for any business challenged to innovate in a world of volatility, uncertainty, and change.”  Steven Tepper



Here are a few of my own personal thoughts on “What I didn’t know”:


  • When you are stuck, start, just start. Something. Anything.
  • You make your own opportunities and fix your own problems.
  • Always Follow up Beyond Belief.
  • We are all going to succeed at some things and fail at others.  That’s how we learn.  Walk, fall, run, fall down and walk again.


We may be judged, and in my case more harshly by myself than anyone else. But it is ok not to know how to do something, that’s part of life. Trust me, every time I try something new, I feel like the class idiot. When in doubt, make a decision, stick to it and Begin!

Remember, you just don’t know what you don’t know.