"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing". - Socrates
I have a confession to share with all that read this today. Writing this blog is one way that I live my purpose while here on planet earth. As I've shared previously, I got clear on my life's Vision during the weekend of July 24th 2003. Out of this transformational experience, I left with the following life statement:
I Brett Anthony Penager hereby declare before God, myself and others that my primary purpose in life is to be a man of total integrity, love and excellence in every area of my life and share freely the universal laws of success that God has granted me the wisdom to learn and use in creating extraordinary success for myself and others.
Though I write with the intention to serve humanity by offering my own experiences and perspectives on what I believe discovering your full potential can look like; I'm certain, as Socrates so eloquently shared over 2,400 years ago, "the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing".
Let's consider why he may have stated this. All of us have and acquire knowledge which can be categorized in the following three buckets:
We know what we know: I.e. - Where we're born, our height, weight, family, name, vocation, etc.
We know what we don't know: I.e. - What it is to be of another race, sex, culture, profession, etc.
We don't know what we don't know: I.e. - The infinite wisdom and perfection of limitless possibilities
The overwhelming majority of us as human beings live our lives trading information from only two of these buckets. What we 'know we know' and what we 'know we don't know'. As we grow, develop, and gain experience both of these buckets expand; however they create massive blind spots when you start to believe that what you 'do know' supersedes what you 'don't know'. It shows up as arrogance, righteousness, pretentiousness, judgement and conditional acceptance. No matter how certain you are of what you believe you 'know', yet acknowledge what you're aware of 'not knowing'; both of these levels of knowingness pales in comparison to the infinite wisdom and perfection of limitless possibilities. This is the intrinsic significance and wisdom of Socrates' statement.
Though many of these blogs can appear as if I believe what I'm sharing is right and valuable, I also know it's limited in it's understanding and application. If I believed the only value I have is sharing these words from a place knowingness, I would have this be the last blog I ever wrote. Though I share each with a high level of certainty in some areas I've experienced significant levels of accomplishment, I also realize it can and should be matched with "compared to what"? This is ultimately the conundrum of exceptional achievement. No matter how high you go, there is another level in which you can attain. Though confounding on the one hand it's liberating on the other. Why?
In my opinion, Socrates' words unlock the essence of discovering your full potential. If you believe there is an arrival point in which your dreams are realized, you will be met with disappointment every time. This is because the experience of attaining it can be summarized in the two words that follow it..."now what"? If, however, you understand and embrace the conundrum, you can both ecstatically savor the moment your dream is acquired while also reveling in the unknowingness of what lies ahead. You then remain in a state of gratitude, love and childlike exuberance not for the accomplishment; but for what you learn and whom you become in the process.
I'm now 56 years young and feel like I've only just begun. I look backwards and my heart smiles with the memories of transcendent moments along the way, it cries when revisiting debilitating heartbreak, and tingles with elation for what's to be learned forward. In doing my best to be my best and sharing my thoughts in hopes that they may benefit you, I trust that someone connects to that voice inside us all in realizing your magnificence. In so doing, remaining steadfast in living fully expressed knowing with the highs come the lows and most importantly remaining grateful for both.
What do I know? I know I'm on a quest to do my best which comes with a ton of measurable failure. It comes with infinite questions in which some answers can be gleaned...only to be replaced by even more questions. It comes with acknowledging that there is far more I am clueless about than that which I've demonstrated some competency. That ultimately, I don't really know that much at all.
This is my confession. Thank you for sharing this wild and crazy ride with me and I hope in some small way these words serve you as you have served me. We're all in this thing called life together so we might as well enjoy the journey, no?! With nothing but love for you and yours.