In Thinking in New Boxes, one of the suggestions that the authors make is that you doubt everything you know, or that you cultivate a state of not knowing. I think of this as the art of not knowing and what it really involves is learning to recognize that everything you think you know is a filter that can keep you from being open to what you could learn. I practice the art of not knowing every day and it has helped my creativity and appreciation of the world immensely. Not knowing allows you to move out of your comfort zone (which is what you “know”) and experience the magic of life. So how do you cultivate the art of not knowing?
As the authors suggest, learn to doubt everything you think you know. What you know can entrap you because while it seems to provide a sense of certainty about the world, what it also provides are filters for your experience of the world. By doubting everything you keep yourself open to experiencing the present as it is, without holding onto preconceptions that could hold you back from being fully present.
Something else that I do is continually cultivate curiosity. I’m curious about everything. I don’t assume I know everything, but rather constantly ask questions and test what I think know because I’m curious to see what I’ll discover. By being curious I allow myself to not know and use that not knowing to artfully uncover the mysteries of the universe.
Another way that I cultivate not knowing involves experimenting with what I’m learning about. I never take the authority’s word for it, but instead test it myself to see what I can discover. Sometimes what I discover is what the authority has shared and sometimes I discover something else entirely. Whatever it is that I discover, I keep myself open to discovering it by allowing myself to experiment and test, instead of just accepting something as known.
Assume nothing, know nothing and allow yourself to use not knowing to keep you in a place of curiosity, inquiry, and experimentation. You’ll discover a lot more and have a lot more fun.