The missing knowledge

Insects. I took myself to a picnic. There is a pretty nice place I found. In the midst of a really long grass. Since I’ve been there multiple times I flattened the grass to make it more comfy. This time there were flowers all over my flattened place. First of all it’s fascinating, and second I sat in an observatory of insects.

Watching them was fun. But at the same time I didn’t want them to crawl on my skin. Especially one big one. Long, black, with antennas the same length as himself. He was so close that I could see his mandibles working. As closer he came the weirder I felt. Then he flew away.

Why I felt weird? What was I feeling? It was a minuscule fear of uncertainty. I have a feeling that these insects weren’t dangerous, but still I didn’t want them on my skin. There is a specific creature that lingers in my mind. It digs itself in your skin to release eggs. I’m not a fan of that.

Putting it all together. I knew these insects were harmless, but I had no reassurance that it’s true. That’s a missing knowledge. A hole in my knowledge bank that creates uncertainty. There is an easy fix. Categorize all insects and find out what they do. Boom. Hole filled. That would be quite a work. Lots of research. Fun, but completely unnecessary.

Uncertainty comes from the unknown. It’s not a helpful thing, because it breeds fear. And fear, well, it spirals down into the abyss.

We can’t know everything. Not yet at least. So we have two options. To keep ourselves safe in the known. Or step into the wild unknown. One is boring. Other is fun.

I’ll take the fun one. The wild unknown. That’s where uncertainty is waiting. What can we do? One option is to take time and prepare. It works if you know your goals and destinations. Preparing eats time. I prefer minimal preparing and then testing.

Last year I did some bike traveling. Short trips within 100km radius. I did it to see if I could do multiple day rides. Before I began I looked up towns I wanted to visit, roads I must take. Refreshed my knowledge about bikes. Did shorter bike rides every morning to train my legs. Was that enough? Kind of. Most of the learning happened on the road. Can I do it physically? Can I do it mentally? What is my threshold? It’s 100km. If the day is not hell hot. What am I missing? From these short trips I learned a lot. Including many things I couldn’t learn by preparing.

Thus, other option is to learn as you go. I would say this one is faster. Prepare in chunks. Only when you meet that uncertainty. Oftentimes you’ll find out that uncertainty moves out of your way on it’s own. And the missing knowledge will fall into your lap without searching it.

For certain things I like to over-prepare. Finances for example. If I’m on the low side, I need to know the limits. That way I’m eliminating unpleasant surprises. One of my so called goal is to have enough money to get rid of this uncertainty about limits. Enough to spend it without thinking. But I’m pretty sure this habit won’t go away.

The good thing is that in these days it’s easy to find anything you want to know. Sometimes, though, I have such specific questions that even internet has no answers. Then it’s time for trial and error.

A penny for your thoughts