You know…he probably would be applauding. It was Socrates himself who said that, “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.” Let me tell you a story.

I was having a absolutely horrible day. I mean…really bad. Couldn’t get myself out of a funk, upset, teary eyed, not following through with my goals, feeling like my life was not moving forward and developing at all..the works. So I jumped on a train to go see my best friend in the city. On the way I took out my journal and started writing. The words began to pour out and eventually I started to make myself feel better. I began with all my complaints, moved towards solving them, and then created a plan, my plan, on how I was going to be the best at what I am most passionate about in this world. I stepped off that train, the sea breeze refreshingly hit me in the face, and to the bus I went.

It happened pretty fast – this man had two crutches, you know, the ones that wrap around the arm – and a pretty decent sized bag. I took out my headphones after standing next to him for a minute and asked him if he needed help with his bag. He smiled and said yes. We got on the bus, we sat down, and in the span of a two minutes he had taken his leg off…his entire leg…and had me hold it really quick while he fixed something.

Ever had those moments that aren’t necessarily jaw dropping but pretty damn close? This was one.

So why is Socrates clapping?

He claps (at least I think he would clap) because it was just recently, and I mean in the past couple of years, when I gave up “knowing” stuff. Huh? What I mean is that I think the moment you believe that you in fact know things – that becomes the moment where you set yourself up for disaster. In an ungracefully said way…I have ventured on a journey of cluelessness. Getting lost, relearning, failing, falling apart, falling together, building…the works. In fact, I have spent years – wonderful years mind you – tearing down and rebuilding the same house over and over again. Why? Because if it can be better, then it’s as good as broken.

We’re not literally talking a house here…

How can I convince you that you should travel down a road marked by fear, doubt, worry, insecurity, failure, pain, vulnerability, loneliness, hurt, sadness…I think you get the point. And hey, that sounds like a lot to deal with – and it is – but I thought I would lay out the battle ahead before you actually decide to dunk yourself in it. I mean, isn’t that half the trouble with our goals anyways? Not knowing the enemy that stands at the gate?

But in the face of all the hard stuff, and it burns sometimes, like a shot of scotch…you begin to learn things about yourself that you never knew existed. You learn to call on yourself when the going gets tough. You learn that you have everything inside of you that you need in order to succeed – and that the people you surround yourself with are essentially your supporting cast of all stars who each serve as scaffolding as you build your foundation and life. You give up thinking that you actually know about yourself, others, and things in life – and give yourself the opportunity to learn every single day. How to make things better, how to make yourself better, and how to be a better person in the world for others. Because at the end of the day that is what truly matters right? Being the best team player out there – and for me – I want my team to be millions of people. Why the hell not? Oh and by the way, in the face of all those really tough emotions and feelings I wrote about above, you learn the depth of the flip side – love, passion, honesty, truthfulness, courage, honor, virtue – the list goes on as well.

So I gave the man’s leg back to him and smiled.

“Thank you for teaching me something today,” I said. He only smiled, because he knew better. He offered me one of the greatest things you can offer to anyone in this world – perspective.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project