Boy, Am I Dumb!

January 1st, 2009 by | Print



Oh, man! I woke up this morning with the worst hangover (not because of boozing – I haven’t had a drink in over 11 years). 2008 put a hurt on me. And I don’t want any of the “hair of the dog” to cure the shakes. I’m still spinning a little, so I apologize if I ramble here.


I’ve stopped using New Years as a catalyst for creating a list of resolutions that go from “I will…” to “I wish…” to “…oh well”. Besides, I typically already have action items for change (both personally and professionally) on my daily and monthly goal list. So why create another list on top of that? Instead, the New Year is a new opportunity to look back on what I have hopefully learned.


I believe that there are three areas of knowledge:


1. I know what I know

2. I know what I don’t know

3. I don’t know what I don’t know.


Looking back on the last calendar year, I can credibly conclude that I grew the area of “I know what I know”. I used to think that this meant that I was depleting the heap of “I know what I don’t know”. Now I realize, boy, am I dumb. Because as I drain the ignorance out of this intermediary bucket, the ocean of “I don’t know what I don’t know” fills the bucket back up.


This year was a real kick in the “wisdom” teeth. 2008 started off with high hopes. I was (and still am) an optimist. But, each month bore a new threat. I’m not in favor of letting fate have its way, especially when it isn’t favoring me. So I quickly crammed to do my best at each new test.


What were just a few of the challenging test questions that I faced in 2008?


  • What are the best survival tactics as a small business owner in an industry that experiences a >20% shrinkage with little to no monetary reserves?
  • How best do I play mediator between family members that have different religious, personal and legal demands relating to the unexpected passing of a sibling?
  • When is the best time to retire a shriveling retirement account while almost all the “experts” say to stay in the game?
  • What, how and when is the best time to start a new entrepreneurial endeavor in a crippling economy?
  • Who do I go to for advice, when only history will write who has been right in these uncertain times?


I’m still here and 2008 is dead. But, I must admit that I am coming out of this fight with a black eye, bruised ribs, bloody lip and one hell of a headache.


As a survivor, I struggle with what might lie out in the expansive universe of “I don’t know what I don’t know”. Where does it end? And what is coming for me in 2009?


Armed with some new found fighting skills learned from the weary war of 2008, I will explore the universe of my hidden ignorance with the hopes of finding answers to the challenges that haven’t come calling yet.


All The Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide


4 Responses to “Boy, Am I Dumb!”

  1. Karl Dannemann Says:

    I about fell off my chair when I didnt really read the headline carefully! Good one Doug.

  2. Douglas Dolan Says:

    Thanks, Karl. 2008 was a rough year, but a great learning experience. Hopefully, I can put some of knowledge gained from these lessons to good use in 2009!


  3. Katy Says:

    Great post Doug. While I can’t say I broke any financial barriers in ’08, I will consider it a pretty darn successful year for me. My I know what I knowness vastly increased. I also became a lot more aware of my I know what I don’t knowness and made those decisions to learn it, or leave it (now there’s an exercise to be proud of in and of itself). Now it’s time to work on those goals and intentions I’ve got going on for ’09.

    Wishing you a fantastic new year filled with much love, much joy and many successes!

  4. Douglas Dolan Says:


    Thanks for the kind comments and well wishes.

    I consider 2008 a success in that I survived some very trying times – both personally and professionally. 2008 was a great learning experience for the future.

    Best of luck to you in 2009, too.


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