Why it’s time we stopped trying to have all the answers, and embraced the power of saying ‘I don’t know’

It’s calming. It’s liberating to realise you don’t know and be OK with that, at least for now if not for good. 

It might seem like a scary phrase, you might worry that people will view you as incapable or as lesser in some way, but I’ve found the opposite to be true. People tend to have more respect for someone who admits they don’t know everything.

And this “I don’t know” mindset is not something that I just dreamt up. More and more wellness experts, spiritual leaders and even high-achieving CEOs are starting to adopt this way of thinking and embracing all that you create space for when you stop wasting time trying to cobble together answers you don’t really have. 

“One of the most powerful practices I’ve learnt, has been to develop an ‘I don’t know mindset’, Claudia Mirallegro, a yoga a& mindfulness expert and founder of Move With Mirallegro tells me.

“This was introduced to me from one of my Buddhist teachers, Zen Master Seung Sahn. He would say that when we are free from views, we are willing to learn. Without views, we listen more deeply and see more clearly. But after the past year that initiated feelings of turmoil and confusion at the very least, adopting this mindset has helped me navigate through this.”

She adds: “Nothing will ever follow a straight line. Planning can only go so far. So much of life is messy, spontaneous, unexpected and even, undecided. Anytime you think you’ve hit the top of the mountain the truth of the matter is that you’ve just reached another mountain and it’s there to climb over again- each step along the way is just life’s lesson in humility and it gives you the ammunition to go on and be excited about the next mountain.”

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In fact, adopting an ‘I don’t know’ mindset is something that Claudia weaves into her yoga classes and mindfulness workshops, encouraging those joining to drop into this way of thinking while they practice. 

“As you move through this new year, I invite you, Glamour reader, to incorporate this kind of mindfulness  and mindset into your life,” she says. “Accept that growth and healing usually don’t happen without feeling uncomfortable at some point. Try not reaching for that ‘something’ to make it go away. Create space for yourself to feel your experience—and honor other people by allowing them to do the same. It’s real, deep work that takes a lot of focus, attention, and practice. But the more you do it, the more resilient, open, authentic, and whole you will become. To me, that’s a process worth undergoing, time and time again.”

It’s just as Socrates says, “knowing what you don’t know is the beginning of wisdom”, and — as my philosophy teacher would tell me time-and-time again, if anyone knows, Socrates does.