“We need this ignorance for our brilliance to be of great significance to our world. The amount of this ignorance we possess will determine the level of our relevance wherever we find ourselves. We need to learn to ignore…to soar.” – ‘Femi Asu
The foregoing heading may sound strange, and maybe your brain is already cracking: “What the heck is he talking about?” So, let me go ahead to make you understand why you need to be ‘ignorant’, if you really want to soar in life. Here is a crucial secret that can bring about the beginning of great exploits and success in your life. Enjoy!
Ignorance, they say, is a deadly ‘disease’. Not a few people and societies frown on it. The Greek philosopher Socrates called it “the only evil”. Be that as it may, there is a kind of ignorance that is good for you – pleasant and profitable. It pays great dividends! Great inventors, discoverers, and people of outstanding achievements have all profited by it. I guess you are curious to know what that is. Please read on with rapt attention.
According to the theory of aerodynamics and as may be readily demonstrated through wind tunnel experiments, the bumblebee is unable to fly. This is because the size, weight and shape of his body in relation to the total wingspread make flying impossible. But the bumblebee, being IGNORANT of these scientific truths, goes ahead and flies away – and makes a little honey everyday.
In the words of Harry K. Jones, “Driven by desire, intelligent ignorance is the characteristic or capability of not knowing what you can’t do, and doing it anyway.” Scientific evidence states that the bumblebee’s body is far too heavy and his wings are far too light. Aerodynamically, it is an impossibility for the bumblebee to fly. However, the bumblebee doesn’t read and therefore does fly! That’s intelligent ignorance. Does that sound oxymoronic?
A person must have a certain amount of intelligent ignorance to get anywhere.
– Charles Kettering
People who made, and those who are still making, the most of their lives couldn’t have accomplished a thing had they been willing to leave things as they were because some “knowledgeable” people said “It is impossible”. If Edison hadn’t been ignorant of the impossibility of inventing the light bulb, if Bell hadn’t been ignorant of transporting sound, If Wilbur and Orville Wright hadn’t been ignorant of the impossibility of having something called ‘Facebook’, the world would not have benefitted from their inventions. The list of “I just did it without knowing it was impossible” appears time and again as a common thread in stories about technology innovation. And virtually in every walk of life, people have done the impossible just because they didn’t know what they were attempting was impossible. We still have intelligently ignorant people around. Are you one?
Intelligently ignorant people focus their minds on a goal and prohibit any distraction or impediment from people who think they cannot achieve what they set out to achieve. They simply ignore their opinions by turning a deaf ear to those who tell them they can’t reach their goals, and then they move on.
Many of us know too much about why we cannot achieve our dreams and goals, courtesy of family, friends and foes: “You’re too young to do that.”, “You don’t have enough experience.”, “You don’t have a degree.”, “You are from a poor background”, “It has never been done before.”, “Only (wo)men do that.” (You can add to the list through the comment box below). But should we allow our dreams to be killed just because they said these? Should we allow them to stifle our creativity, scotch our potential “and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt,” as Shakespeare said about our doubts? Not in the least! We need intelligent ignorance for our brilliance to be of great significance to our world. The amount of this ignorance we possess will determine the level of our relevance wherever we find ourselves. We need to learn to ignore these limiting opinions to soar.
As Pearl S. Buck, the prolific American writer who became the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature in 1938 rightly said: “All things are possible until they are proved impossible – and even the impossible may only be so, as of now.” Don’t let anyone tell you something can’t be done. Anyone can do that. You be the one to show that it can be done. Tell the cynics and critics that you are too focused to know it can’t be done.
One of the traps of age is growing to accept the common wisdom of what’s possible and not. Accumulated experience can at times become an obstacle in thinking creatively. Knowing that “it can’t be done” because you can recount each of the failed attempts in the last 20 years to solve the problem can be a boat anchor on insight and imagination. When you are young, anything seems possible. – Steve Blank
You see, ignorance of the impossible gives you the opportunity to do something even if you do not have the ability in the beginning. It is a propelling force to great achievements. What if Mark Zuckerberg and his partner knew it was impossible to create Facebook? Even though some people might have told them it was impossible, they believed in the possibility of their dreams. In other words, they were ignorant of the impossible, so they worked assiduously and eventually they realized their dreams.
The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible, and achieve it, generation after generation. – Pearl S. Buck.
Wake up friend! Nothing is impossible; there are ways that lead to everything. “If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes,” says Scriptures (Mark 9:23). Believe it that what you desire in life is possible – that is the way to be ignorant of the impossible. Eliminate the word “impossible” from your mind. The fact that someone has tried something, but did not achieve it does not necessary mean it is impossible – yours can be different.
It was said that during World War II, when Henry Kaiser said, “We can construct a Liberty ship every ten days,” experts said. “It can’t be done – it’s impossible! Yet he did it. Kaiser believed it was possible and he built over 1500 ships with such rapidity that he startled the world. Wow! Ignorance of the impossible – what a powerful force!
Hello esteemed reader, I am glad to tell you that the ignorance of the impossible can also work for you. That idea, dream, desire or vision in your heart is possible. The level of success you aspire to achieve in life is possible. Work towards it. “Determine what you want more than anything else in life, (believe it is possible) write down the means by which you intend to attain it and permit nothing to deter you from pursuing it,” said Henry J. Kaiser. Turn a deaf ear to the opinions of people around you that your dreams are impossible – be ignorant of the impossible. Work towards your dreams and you will succeed. Learn to ignore to soar!
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(This is a reworked version of a piece originally published on January 14, 2011 as a note on Facebook)