The Power of Ignorance

Ignorant MonkeySometimes it’s good not to know stuff. To be unaware of how “things are done.”

Take the coach who decided to get into podcasting. He thought it would be a great income stream, so he learned how to do it, and put together a podcast. Then he charged 30 bucks a month to subscribe.

He was unaware that most people just gave podcasts away for free. Sure, he saw all the free ones out there, but just assumed other professionals and experts were charging for them.

He has expertise that people were willing to pay for (his going rate was $125 an hour). Since he was ignorant of the “podcasts should be free” concept, he ended up making a good amount of money from his podcast — by charging for access to his expertise.

The Ignorant Monkey Beats the Scared Monkey

As a consultant, having no previous knowledge of how “things are done” in a client’s organization — and frankly not caring — is an asset. You’re not one of the scared monkeys.

You’re there to provide solutions and results, and doing things the same way they’ve always been done is a sure way to not get results.

Just because things are always done a certain way doesn’t make it the right way. Most times, it’s just the opposite. Being ignorant of the way “things are done” is a good place to be — especially for innovative thinkers.

Sometimes ignorance is power.


  1. It’s the principle of if you’re willing to give something away for free, that shows what it’s worth: nothing. Start *charging* for it, and instantly it’s worth owning.

  2. To get 30 bucks a month instead of nothing doesn’t seem so bad. But maybe, if you gave it for free, you might reach someone in a position to hire you for a week long training or classes. It really depends on what you prefer doing.

  3. I find this blissful ignorance especially refreshing with new employees at my place of work. Having a different perspective can challenge the notion of “we’ve always done things this way.” It makes everyone around that person question exactly why “we’ve always done it that way.”

    Sometimes that different perspective gives way to a different tactic or method. Sometimes it reaffirms that we’re really doing things that way for a reason.

    Either way, the perspective of “the new guy” makes us think, and that’s a good thing no matter what.

  4. Jon – An excellent and very accurate observation.

    Jean – Giving away stuff to something you believe in is different — particularly for non-profits and charities. I firmly believe in giving back — and I do a fair amount of pro-bono work. But when it comes to business, the bottom line is measured in revenue.

    Katie – True. Giving away samples as a marketing tool is a great way to generate business. The key is keeping it to samples. You don’t see grocery stores sticking a whole chicken breast on a toothpick and calling it a sample 🙂

    Dave – Absolutely. That’s why consultants are paid to do what they do (in most cases). An outside perspective coupled with expertise, can get results that would never be achieved internally.

  5. Some of my best sharpening tips come from my students that have never touched a sharpener in their life! We all get stuck in the mire of our own paradigms! It’s nice to have a fresh perspective! This fellow shows that the “norm” doesn’t have to be the only option!

  6. Great piece. Some of my best “discoveries” are a result of being in a new & unfamiliar place. This allows me to ask “Why Not” & bring a fresh perspective. Ignorance Is Bliss!

  7. Thats a awesome post. You can compare that to a child, they are ignorant and they aren’t afraid to try new things.

    But as they grow and get ridicule by others, they start to worry and become hard.

  8. Ignorance is definitely bliss in a lot of situations. I think a lot of times people are to quick to follow the so called “right way” to do things. I’ve found that the people that march to the beat of their own drummer are the ones who are successful. These people don’t copy, they are the ones being copied.

  9. I glad to see that you are one of dozens I have helped in the hundreds of seminars I have given around the world and that you now understand the importance of understanding that a lack of understanding is unimportant.

    Master Ignoramus

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