It takes a humble perspective to recognize there’s always more to learn. Have you ever heard the phrase “you know what you know. You know what you don’t know”? For example, I know I know how to read. I know that I don’t know how to fly a plane. Most folk can decipher between these two pretty well, I hope.
Yet what about the grey area of: “You don’t know what you don’t know.” This is the stuff that we’re not even aware of that we don’t know. Confused yet? It will all come together in the end, I promise.
While reading Alignment Matters by Biomechanist Katy Bowman, I experienced many of these “who knew!” moments; sucking in your stomach wreaks havoc on your abdominal organs and digestive tract (among other things). Flat feet have a direct correlation with weak lateral hip strength. This information existed out there in the world (thanks Katy!), yet I didn’t even know it was there. Before I dived into this new realm of body-knowledge and biomechanics, I had my own assumptions of what sucking in the stomach does (activate your abdominal muscles and make you look leaner?) and flat feet (you’re born with flat feet, you live with flat feet, and you wear a lot of arch supports?), which happened to both be WAY off from the truth (and hindering my health in the meantime).
The bigger this grey area of “you don’t know what you don’t know” is, the greater likelihood of us having a narrow vision on life. By this, I certainly do not mean to say that if we don’t know something (that we don’t know we know), we’re automatically a cotton-headed-ninny-muggins. That wouldn’t be very nice at all. I do mean, however, that it is vital for our personal growth to be open to learning new ideas and other perspectives besides our own. Why? So we can grow, learn, expand, and become better human beings for ourselves and for those we come in contact with. And because you don’t want to be a cotton-headed-ninny-muggins after all.
If you drew a circle and split it up into three sections, what would your percentage be for each of the following?
1) What you know*
2) What you know you don’t know*
3) What you don’t know you don’t know
*When you really think about it, numbers 1 & 2 combined are all things that you are aware of. The more aware of things you are (even if there are things you don’t know how to do), the better educated you are.
You might be asking, “how can we have any clue as to gauge number 3? Good point, I don’t really have an answer for that so I’m going to have to ask you to guess!
This can all get a bit overwhelming. I am not suggesting reading through every wikipedia and googling answers (how accurate is this, anyhoo?). But I am suggesting a few things that we can do on a daily basis.
* Be open to new ideas. Pretty simple, right?
* Ask the why’s and how’s – I think an injury is a great example here. We have pain, we see someone to help us, we’re given a rehabilitation program and/or surgery. Let’s empower ourselves and get to really know our body. What’s actually going on with my injury in relation to the rest of my body, because everything’s connected, ya? What caused this? How is it related to my daily movement habits? Can it happen again?
* Look at things from a different perspective – whether it is seeing a situation from someone else’s viewpoint or simply looking at the bigger picture.
* Educate. Educate. Educate. I never thought this word would be uttered out of my mouth so often. (in college I was better at dedicating myself to the crossword than to the lecture…unless it was in the classes where I met my husband, I found my own personal 6 feet 7 inches of motivation).
Expand what you know and what you know you don’t know and all that you don’t know you don’t know will get smaller and smaller. See, I said it would all come together in the end. Sort of.
Like En Vogue sings, “free your mind, and the rest will follow.”