Ignorance is Bliss
When using the word “ignorant” to describe someone it is generally not meant to be a compliment. We all know that this word means that the person is “lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular”.
I work in an industry that requires me to oversee large public improvement projects. When I say large, they can range from a couple of million dollars in construction cost all the way up to 2-3 hundred million. A co-worker of mine is currently overseeing one of these 300 million dollar projects and he is feeling a lot of pressure to make sure his team delivers. It’s not uncommon for members of his team to work 60-80 hour weeks designing one of these projects. As you can imagine, the hours worked and stress of one of these projects weights heavy on most of the team members.
I stopped by this coworker’s office recently and could see the stress he was carrying. I sat down and let him vent about some of his team members and how they really don’t see the big picture of what we have to accomplish. They don’t understand that our business depends on delivering a quality project in order to get another project from our client. They don’t understand the business model and the fact that if we don’t get another project, they will not have a job/paycheck. They just show up to work, do what their told and go home. They don’t think for themselves and rely heavily on the project leader to tell them what to do. At the end of his venting, I said, “ignorance is bliss”. We both laughed and he said “that would be nice not to know, to live in your own little world”.
I spent the rest of the day thinking about that statement, “ignorance is bliss” and thought about what I have been through with the loss of my children. I wish I was ignorant to this nightmare. I wish I didn’t know the pain of burying a child. I wish I didn’t know the aftermath that people go through after burying a child. I wish I didn’t know about days you can’t get out of bed because the pain is so emotionally and physically destructive. I wish I didn’t know about the long term impacts of losing a child. I wish I didn’t have to hear from all of the other dads (and moms) that have also been on this path. The reality is I do know, I wish I didn’t, but I can’t change that fact.
I also thought about the people on my co-workers team. Maybe they aren’t ignorant after all. Maybe they understand that “you don’t know what you don’t know” and they are perfectly ok with that. There was a time after the loss of Katie and Noah that I took on the mindset of “I’m doing the best I can and if that isn’t good enough for you then to bad.” That was the only way I could have survived. I didn’t allow myself to take on more stuff. I had reached my capacity and then some. However, over the last couple of years I have allowed myself to worry about stuff that really doesn’t matter. Getting out of bed every day with a smile and a sense of peace should be the only thing that matters.
Is ignorance bliss?