Four Types of Men

Ibn Yamin Faryumadi (1286-1368), Persian poet, stated that there are four types of men:

(1) The man who knows and knows that he knows… This is a man of knowledge; strive to know him because you can learn from him.

(2) The man who knows, but doesn’t know that he knows… This is a man who’s unaware, so bring it to his attention.

(3) The man who doesn’t know and knows that he doesn’t know… This is an illiterate man; teach him! Benjamin Disraeli said that “To be conscious that you are ignorant of the facts is a great step to knowledge.”

(4) The man who doesn’t know but doesn’t know that he doesn’t know… This is an ignorant man; and will be ignorant forever. According to Publilius Syrus, “It is only the ignorant who despise education.”

I believe we all have the characteristics of these four men. We all frequently move across the four quadrants of knowledge, unawareness, illiteracy and ignorance in our daily lives. This is why to be successful as a leader; it is important to have a teachable heart. Humility is a prerequisite to having a teachable heart. Humble leaders are teachable leaders.

Q: Are you teachable?

5 replies on “Four Types of Men”

This is one of those articles that make me stop and re-think my position. It’s true, it takes humility to admit to not knowing something. It’s that same humility that increases one’s potential and capacity to learn. So much depth in such few words. I like it, Prof, I like it.

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