Willfully Ignorant

At the risk of being redundant, I’m going on a bit of a rant today about ignorance. It’s a topic I’ve touched on before but it seems as if something happens each day, either in the business world or elsewhere, that makes me feel as if I need to get this off my chest.

The hardest thing in business these days is seeing over the horizon. I think the people and enterprises that “win” are the ones whose horizon is just a bit further off, allowing them to see a little more of the road in front of them. I also believe that the way we can extend our horizons is through information. That impels each of us to seek out information about anything and everything that can help us improve our vision. Information about our market. Information about our customers. Information about our competitors. Information about the world around us.

What has me ranting today is the amount of willful ignorance I see. It’s one thing not to have information. It’s another thing if the information doesn’t exist. It’s absurd, however, to know that information is out there and even to have it offered to you and to decline it. Even worse is to hear about what the information source has to say and to challenge its reality based on nothing other than your own gut feel. That’s insane.

The worst part is that some of the folks who participate in this insanity do so out of hubris. They are the personifications of “let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good story” or in the way of their own ignorant beliefs. That’s not to say they’re stupid. Many of the folks I’ve met who act this way are quite intelligent. They’re just too smitten with their own success to date to believe anything but their own guts.

I wrote about the role of intuition in business (there is one!) a little while back. Intuition is NOT “I know better than anyone.” It’s not throwing out factual information because it conflicts with your world view. It’s certainly not being willfully ignorant.

So today’s bit of business advice is to choose knowledge. Rather than willfully ignorant, be aggressively knowledgable. See further over the horizon and you’ll make better decisions. OK?

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Huh?, Thinking Aloud, What's Going On

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