Monday, February 15, 2010

The unknown unknowns

I like to think.  I enjoy the process of thinking.  I enjoy the eureka moments of insight.  I enjoy the tactical improvements that come from well thought-out strategy.

If you enjoy thinking then you should read this article about the three types of knowledge.  (Warning: the author uses a few mild expletives.)  Even if you read my thoughts, below, the article is worth your time.

I learned something from the article.  I already understood the 3 types of knowledge (the "known", the "known unknowns", and the "unknown unknowns".)  But the author made a great argument for focusing on shrinking your unknown unknowns by turning them in to known unknowns.  Prior to this I had assumed that I needed to turn the unknown unknowns into knowns, because I had never thought it out.

But he's right.  Fully knowing the unknown unknowns is too much work with too little return.  First expend just enough effort to convert your unknown unknowns into known unknowns.  Then triage those known unknowns before deciding which ones are worth the effort to convert the remainder of the way to knowns.

I'm an INTJ.  This is something that INTJs should do naturally.  More than any other personality type we keep thorough lists of our knowns and our known unknowns.

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