The less you think you know, the better

Mickey Mellen
2 min readFeb 22, 2022

I was recently at an event where the speaker shared a quote from Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus that simply said:

“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows”

It’s not unlike ideas I’ve shared before about being willing to change your mind, but I really like the way this was phrased.

In reading the book “ The Half-Life of Facts “, a few more similar quotes jumped out at me. The first goes directly into the idea of being willing to change your mind.

“Every day that we read the news we have the possibility of being confronted with a fact about our world that is wildly different from what we thought we knew.”

It reminds me of this post I saw shared on Reddit (I’ve not seen anyone that I know personally share it yet):

Being open to changing your mind, even if you don’t want to, is a powerful thing.

The other interesting quote to come out of that book had to do with medical schools:

“Many medical schools inform their students that within several years half of what they’ve been taught will be wrong, and the teachers just don’t know which half.”

I think that quote can be true of a lot of professions. In marketing, for example, things change very quickly and it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends. I don’t mean jumping on the latest fad and trying to be “trendy”, but really following the trends on where people are spending their time online and how best to reach them.

I spend a lot of time learning about things that interest me, but the more I know I don’t know, the better off I am.

Originally published at on February 22, 2022.



Mickey Mellen

I’m a cofounder of @GreenMellen, and I’m into WordPress, blogging and seo. Love my two girls, gadgets, Google Earth, and I try to run when I can.