Why Ignorance is a Required Skill for Success

If you want to be really good at business you have to be really ignorant.

No, that was not a mistype.

To be really good at business you have to be really ignorant.

Being ignorant is a learned skill of successful people.

There are two particular ways that being ignorant helps us in business.

Version 1 of Ignorant: Lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact.

In business there are plenty of times when things “look bad” and your friends, advisors and even your family will tell you to give up and “try again another day.”

They will regularly tell you to “face reality” and “do the right thing.”

The issue is that “reality” is subjective and circumstances are always changing.

There is no homeostasis anywhere in the universe.

So today’s “reality” is tomorrow’s memory.

When you choose to be ignorant of “reality” you give yourself a powerful skill. You are able to see beyond today’s issues to tomorrow’s successes. That is leadership.

Now – just to be safe – let me add this caveat. It is okay to be ignorant of today’s reality so long as you have a viable plan for tomorrow’s success. That is beingstrategically ignorant.

If you have no clue what to do and the “house is burning” and you refuse to change, then you are just being stubborn.

Don’t be stubborn.

Version 2 of Ignorant: Lacking in knowledge or training.

One of the biggest misconceptions about being successful is that you have to be good at every part of your business.

As if you should be able to take over from anyone else in your business and do their job flawlessly.

I have personally seen this idea kill businesses.

The truth is that most successful people have no idea how to do the day-to-daywork of their employees. Many don’t even really understand the technical aspects of their products.

They happily look for people a whole lot smarter than they are to handle these things. And they readily admit that they are ignorant of how to do these types of work.

It is foolish pride that makes us think “I have to know everything.”

Successful people usually want to know as little as possible about the day to day.

They stay with the “thousand foot view.” That way they can look out for opportunities that would be lost if they had their “head down” in their work.

So being Strategically Ignorant actually requires a lot of skill. You have to know the difference between being ignorant and turning a blind eye to things.

But when you master this skill, you will be free to grow your business, enjoy your free time, help your staff grow as contributors and help your community flourish.

So I urge you to be smart…by being ignorant!