I am never more impressed with someone than when I hear them say this simple, three word sentence:
"I don't know."
It should be an easy thing to say. Three one syllable words that we all know by the time we are three years old.
And based upon the vast amount of information available in this world, the enormous number of skills that human beings have mastered, the vast amount of mysteries still in need of explanation, and our own personal and biological limitations, it's a sentence that should be said often.
There is a lot that we don't know, both individually and collectively.
We don't know a lot of the time.
And yet "I don't know" is like poison to so many people. Again and again, I listen to people leap into verbal gymnastics in an attempt to avoid the sentence, "I don't know."
They guess. They hypothesis. They conjecture. They make stuff up. They feign expertise. They change the subject. They ask rhetorical questions. They delay. They postpone.
It makes no sense.
"I don't know" is confidence.
"I don't know" says: "I know a lot. I kick ass in many facets of my life, but in this particular area, I haven't a clue, and that is okay."