Nov 22, 2013

You know, I know nothing.

Few weeks ago I was having a beer with good friend at local pub. As usual with alcohol, we wanted to have A pot but ended up drinking four. This post is not about why we can’t control drinking. It is about an interesting conversation we ended up having.

My stylist friend, I will say stylist as he follows latest trends and invests significant amount of his hard earned cash into clothing and grooming. To give you an idea his haircuts cost him anything between $50 to $100 each month. I asked him about his recent hair style and he quoted it was the current trend and named some famous dude from whom he has adopted it. Anyways this is not about is style as well.

After the first one or two beers the mind started relaxing a bit and the dear friend told me of one of his conundrum. He feels that he has to know about everything and feels ashamed when he can’t get involved in conversations about topics he does not know.

I told him, while I’m not jack of all trades or knows about everything people talk about. I most of the time don’t find myself ashamed of the lack of knowledge. Everyone has different interest and hobbies and it is hard to keep up with everyone’s interest. Every day we meet so many new people with different interest, If we try to keep up with only 20% of them we will not know what interests us or makes us happy.

I gave him my example, I struggle to join conversations most of the times when people start talking about footy (AFL), which is the most common topic at work during the 8 month long season. In my 10+ years stay in Australia I’ve never watched a full game as it just does not interest me. I can’t tell more than 5 players name and I don’t follow the leader board so I don’t know what is going on in the game. So what do I do during those conversations. I can’t give my comments or views so I just go in the listening/learning mode. I listen to what they say and try to remember it (doesn’t work most of the times) so I can use that information in other conversations. If someone asks me why don’t you get involved in this conversations, I just tell them footy is not my interest. I don’t feel ashamed.

The other common area I trouble giving my input is when people talk about current affair and news. I read news may be once or twice a week and most of the time not aware of what is going on in the world in detail. More about why I don’t read news some other day. I read about technology and psychology, I know what new gadgets are coming, their features, how much they cost, tips and tricks. That is my interest and I don’t have to give up that and invest my time in what others are interested in.

When my dear friend was showing me photos of this guy who was on GQ magazine and whose hair style he adopted, I didn’t feel ashamed not knowing what is trending in the fashion world. But it was very good to know about what is so called IN TREND. You see I even don’t remember the guy’s name or have not invested my time to follow what is IN TREND to have better conversation with my dear friend next time, just not my interest.

There is so much variety in this world to be interested in, everyone has different interests. You will not know everything and that is just fact of life, something you need to suck it up to avoid the sad feeling. I think, you have to get out of the cycle of proving that you have all the answers all the time - that you're the smartest person in the room. You don’t have to prove that you are “God's gift" and know the encyclopedia. You would enjoy the conversation more as you're not trying so hard to be something you're not.

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. By Socrates.

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