Ever hear an unfamiliar term come up in conversation? Instead of asking for clarification, you ignore it. Naturally, everyone around you assumes you know. Weeks later, you are in a meeting with a client when they ask you a question. You panic - that unfamiliar term is coming back to haunt you. You respond, but you stumble. You have no idea what they are asking you. What comes out might as well be gibberish. Your words hang in the room for what feels like hours when suddenly, a colleague breaks the silence.
I am no believer in fake it till you make it. Even if you think you made it (whatever that means), at some point, you run out of steam, with no bank of knowledge to draw on and keep going.
You might be thinking, Lucas - sometimes you need to fake it to learn. Sure - we have to explore the unknown to fill in the gaps, uncover new ideas. That is not faking it. Faking it means you are pretending to know when you have no idea. Faking it means you are afraid to look dumb, so you shy away from asking questions.
Here is the thing - no matter how much we know, there will always be something we have yet to discover. When we fake it, we stop being curious. We stop learning. We stop getting better. We plateau.
"If you wish to improve, be content to appear clueless or stupid in extraneous matters — don’t wish to seem knowledgeable." (Epictetus)