“Have intellectual humility. Acknowledging what you don’t know is the dawning of wisdom.”
— Charlie Munger
In the course of life, some of the most dangerous circumstances to be in are when you think you’re the smartest person in the room. Smarts without humility can get you into trouble because hubris leads to intellectual arrogance and a blatant disregard for opinions and judgments that are contrary to the ones you already hold.
Recognizing that you can’t know everything and that you will never know everything must not prevent you from acting. Rather, you must embrace uncertainty and take into account the possibility that you could be wrong.
Risk is what is left behind after you think you’ve thought of everything you currently can. Risk embraces all those matters that are unaccounted for—everything that you need to protect yourself from.
Intelligence transforms into wisdom only when you recognize that, despite your confidence in the present circumstances, you cannot predict how things will play out in the future. You will not be able to make an optimal decision every time.
The conduct of life is not a perfect science. Rather, it is an art that necessitates acknowledging and dealing with imperfect information. Be willing to act on imperfect information and uncertainty. Set a clear course today and tackle problems that arise tomorrow. Learn to adapt more flexibly to developing situations.
Idea for Impact: The wisest people I know are the ones who acknowledge that they don’t know everything and put strategies in place to shield themselves from their own ignorance. Make risk analysis and risk reduction one of the primary goals of your intellectual processes.