Normally I am the kind of person that "wants to know" - I like to learn; I think it's fun and also important. So, it feels a little counter-intuitive to be promoting the value of "not knowing". But let me explain. You see, every year the National Corn Growers Association has a Corn Yield Contest. The winner this past year (2016) was a man named Randy Gowdy. He yielded 500+ bushel corn. This was his second time winning. He also won in 2014, being the first producer to ever cross the 500 bushel threshold.
You might be shocked by the amount of corn he was able to raise. Here is a portion of an article with Randy in which he shares some of his perspective on his accomplishments:
“I always say in all of the meetings that we go to and I try to influence growers that a definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results,” Dowdy said. “We farmers are creatures of habit. Jesus could tell some farmers what to do, and they still wouldn’t do it any different. I understand that. And that’s a tough battle. Industry has a tendency to get tunnel vision and farmers are guaranteed to have tunnel vision and universities tend to have tunnel vision.”
Yes, 500+ bushel might be shocking. But, even more shocking may be to learn that prior to 10 years ago, Randy had no farming experience. He was not raised on a farm; he had not been a farmer by trade, until he decided to give it a try. And he ended up winning the highest yield contest, twice.
Ironically, the most important tool in his tool box was not his knowledge of farming, but actually, it was the fact that he came into farming with NO knowledge. What some people might consider a DISADVANTAGE was actually his biggest ADVANTAGE. There were no ideas that were off the table for him; he had no emotional attachment to any certain way of doing anything. He was strictly trying to find WHAT WORKED, and his lack of previous knowledge provided him with a clean slate.
Don't ever think that because you don't know something, that you can never learn. As Randy Dowdy has proven, there is great value in not knowing something. You can learn things that "the experts" might have discounted years ago. And, I am hoping as you read this you realize that this applies to much more than just farming. In anything in life, if you have a knowledge gap, don't consider it a deficit, consider it an opportunity!
Have a great day!