Not Knowing—the First Step to Self-Knowledge

Not Knowing—the First Step to Self-Knowledge

Not Knowing

Not Knowing

It seems kind of paradoxical that not knowing is the first step to self-knowledge. We have this desire to know everything and to be perfect and to not only please ourselves, but also to please others. We also want to avoid criticism.  In fact, admit it, you hate it.  I don’t know anyone who likes it. So we hold back and keep some of our best ideas and profound insights a secret. It’s also true that we can learn from the feedback that people give us.

There is an essential you that is waiting to be expressed—beautiful and endearing when authentic. Don’t let the fear of being criticized stop you from expressing that essential you.

It is also true that we don’t know everything and it’s OK to admit it.  When I was a lawyer, it was expected that I had all of the answers.  And it was even that way in the early days as a life coach.

There there was that moment when I said, “I’m not sure.” It was followed by an “I don’t know.” Wow was that liberating. I even made those comments during a  radio interview. I also followed those comments with “I’ll have to think about that. ” And so I did. Now I’m much more comfortable with not knowing.

Admitting that you don’t know is the first step in learning something new. In fact quite often when writing an article, I’ll start with I’m not sure what I’m going to say.  Out of that comes a flow and body of knowledge that needed that opening for me to access it. Not knowing is the first step to self-knowledge.

In my new book, The Soul of Uncertainty, a Fable for our Times, I think of perfection as a dynamic, evolving state of being, rather than an absolute standard. Not knowing is part of that dynamic evolving state of being. Not knowing also frees you up to imagine what it is that you really want for yourself and to become the person you have always wanted to be.

To dream -again. To dare -again. 
To feel enjoyment and happiness – again,
or for the first time.
To realize – Ah, this is living —
This is the stand I take!

At times our own light goes out and is reignited by the spark of another person. 

Journey On


Mark Susnow is an executive-life coach and thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. He is passionate about life being an exciting journey of discovery. His enthusiastic and inspiring keynotes on change, leadership and connection thoroughly convey this message to his audiences.  A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation.  If you are curious to find out how Mark can make a difference in your life both personally and professionally, you are invited to contact him at 415.453.5016 or email him at Be sure to visit his website at and Amazon to purchase his books.

Be sure to visit his website at and Amazon to purchase his books.


A young man, Buddy, just setting out in life encounters a mysterious “modern day mystic” who promises to help him tap into magical powers inside himself to attain a sense of inner freedom, and his soul’s purpose. An unexpected ‘road trip’ of the soul begins and Buddy is never the same.

The INSPIRE POSSIBILITY blog is dedicated to personal and professional development.

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