All of us cherish friendships with people who have had major impacts on our lives.
One of my friends saved my life. Can I prove that? No, but I believe he did. That’s enough for me.
I believed I was dying, and he said I was. In my opinion, he was the smartest man I ever knew; I believed him.
Anthony A. Malizia, Jr., MD, a nationally known Urologist, was my friend and my physician. Tony had read all 51 volumes of the Harvard Classics, and he remembered what he read. He had a memory that was photographic.
When I visited him, he provided outstanding healthcare and an intellectually stimulating discussion of almost any subject you can imagine. With that background information, you can join me in recognizing the impact of this statement. He started our conversation that day by saying,
“The greatest enemy of learning is knowing.”
Tony Malizia knew more than any man I have known, yet he was well aware that he didn’t know it all. He had a proper balance of confidence and humility that made him a great doctor.
Think about how this applies to you, me and those we work with.
To begin, we must clearly understand what we do and don’t know. There will never be a situation when we will know everything before we act. We must realize that all decisions are based on partial information. That means there will always be some degree of risk. A decision may be good or bad; an action may work, or it may not. We must …
When that time comes, two people are doomed to failure: the “know-it-all,” and the I “need more information.” Neither one is worthy of responsibility.
The risk of the “know-it-all” is easily recognized. No one trusts a “know-it-all.”
At the same time, the person who “needs more information” is often erroneously considered to be wise. When in reality, he/she is afraid to act.
When it is time to act, we all need to recognize that no matter how much or what we know, we don’t know it all. Since we can never know it all, we must be prepared to act with the best partial information available within a reasonable period of time. A person paralyzed by the fear of not knowing all is doomed to failure.
We must learn to trust our judgment and act! The confidence of your fellow workers will depend on how well you balance the information and time risk.
They will trust you when they see that you have the confidence to make a decision on a timely basis, the humility to gather enough information, and then act without being afraid.
Confident humility will make it possible to gain the trust and support of your fellow workers, so you must not be afraid to act.