“It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.” - Mark Twain
Great quote from the start of The Big Short, a movie covering the 2008 financial crash. But the quote reminds me of one of the most common phrases from people basically over the age of 35. "I was so foolish when I was young, if only I knew..." or something along those lines.
No matter where you are, what you do, and where you go. You will look back on your life and think about how foolish you where, or the mistakes you made, or what you wish you knew. So why wait? In my post Get Rich Quick I talked about my journaling habit and in my journal I regularly practice asking and answering the questions, "What will I look back on in 10, 20, 30 years and think I wish I knew at this point in my life?" and “What in my life am I sure about, where might I be missing something?”
The point is, you don’t have to wait to ask the smart questions and think about what you are overlooking. Inevitably no matter what happens you can be sure you will look back and think you were foolish in some area of your life.
So why wait to have the answer?
Start with asking yourself similar questions now, instead of later. “What am I sure about, and what might I be missing?”
Along the same lines, just like you shouldn’t wait around until you regret something, you shouldn’t even wait around until you can answer that question..
We are all different people, but I hate to break it to you.. Truth is your life is still not all that unique. Neither is mine.
Someone, somewhere has been through the same thing, or something very similar, or something much worse in the past. Maybe it was last week and maybe it was 300 years ago but I am certain you could learn a lot from other people’s experiences and oftentimes this will give you answers you need without having to go through the painful experience yourself.
I still encourage you to ask good questions to yourself, and find the answers. This is very important. But there are lessons everywhere around you!
Don’t just ask those questions of yourself, start asking people you know and respect. I have tried to make it a habit to ask more questions and ask better questions to people I know or meet.
And an AAMAAAAZING thing happens.. People give you answers!
Turns out, people like to talk about themselves.. WHO KNEW.
Take advantage. First and foremost actually care, be interested, and listen, but second.. Use your time to ask questions that you can learn from. I recently asked my Grandpa, “What’s the worst advice you ever got in your life?”.. And he said..
So, maybe you start with people who could hear better..
But the fact remains, asking good questions is truly the greatest tool I could encourage anyone to use. And it takes practice to get good at it, but the better your questions get, the better the answers get. And the more you learn.
So, take some time and think about what you don’t know? More importantly think about what in your life you are sure about? And what might you be missing about it?
Finally, never forget..
“Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” - Otto Van Bismarck