By Marianne Wathne Johansen
What you don’t know
When I started university, I realized how much I don’t know. As the years went by, I felt like I knew less and less, not more and more. My brother told me that «The more you know, the more you realize that you don’t know». Even though it sounded a bit contradictory I understood and accepted the fact, moved on and forgot about it. Until last night. I was summarizing my notes from Made to Stick when the paragraph on how some people are overconfident in terms of their own knowledge caught my attention. Some people think they know a lot more than they do, whereas many others are more modest when it comes to their knowledge. Why?
At first, I couldn’t quite figure out the difference between people who understand that they don’t know everything, and people who think they know it all. It made me think about other advertising creatives. I know quite a few – both the modest type and the «know-it-all». In advertising, for some reason, I think the latter is more common. I’ve always wondered why overly confident people on average seem to, in my experience, do worse than their more modest counterparts? Surely if they know everything, they should be able to do better than everyone else in, well, almost anything? But that’s not the truth, is it?
I think the key here is curiosity. People who know that they don’t know everything keep asking «why?». The confident settles. They don’t go the extra mile, because their «super high intelligence» makes it great either way. And that’s why I fell in love with SCA 2.0. Not because they produce over-confident advertising assholes – but because they produce great, modest and curious creatives. I noticed that during my interview day, and it made me really excited to know that you can be great without being annoying.
One of my favourite quotes, from Charles Bukowski, is: “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” The first time I read that, it resonated with me. I guess what I’m trying to say is that doubt might not be such a bad thing when it comes in small doses. It keeps one curious, and if you’re not, you can’t be a great creative either.