Just a cute pic of me
by Mike McKee
Problem Solving

My "I Know Nothing" Mentality

This makes me smarter, a better thinker, and a better problem-solver.

A few days ago, I wrote about "what I think it means to be a data analyst." And Lori Keller left a powerful comment that forced me to think deeper about what I said…

Her comment made me realize there’s a fine balance between too much and too little detail.An extra detail or two would have clarified my thoughts.

You would have understood me better.

This reflection made me think about the foolproof mentality I adopt often (both in the real world and the dorky world of data). It’s what I like to call:

The “I know nothing” mentality.

If you wanna be boring, then a simpler term is “open-mindedness.”

I don’t shy away from ideas going against what I believe and what I know.

I embrace them.
I listen to them.
And sometimes, I steal them.

Ever since I started writing on LinkedIn during the summer of ‘23, I’ve had A LOT of people disagree with me. Some friendly, some not so friendly.

I’m not mad about it. I mean, you’ve gotta remember that I’ve been a data analyst for four months. 4 MONTHS. I’m a damn baby in the dorky world of data.

Some people here have 20x the amount of experience I have.

That’s why I adopt my “I know nothing” mentality when it comes to:

- Doing research at work
- Consuming new content
- Receiving feedback from my boss
- Reading emails/DMs/LinkedIn comments

There will always be someone with a different perspective as me.
There will always be someone who knows more than me.
There will always be someone challenging my ideas.

Now, I’m not saying that you SHOULD adopt my mentality or that you NEED to do it. I’ll let you be the judge of that. But I’ll end by saying that many people in the world aren’t open-minded (even if they claim to be).

And if you doubt that previous sentence, then point proven.

p.s. Did you know that Charles Darwin basically used a version of the “I know nothing” mentality? He made it a point of copying into his notes any fact or idea that contradicted a theory he worked on. Worked well for him, I suppose. So yeah…

It’s not a bad thing to do, huh?