This article is part of the My Values series.

I am a recovering know-it-all. All my life my assumption has been that I know—that my information is both complete and accurate—and that the burden of proving otherwise is on others.

This has been crippling. Rather than explore and learn new information, I've defended my positions rhetorically; rather than build common understanding with my conversation partners, I've created antagonism.

While working in Panama in 2014 (with some particularly difficult coworkers), I awakened to the personal and interpersonal benefits of humility. To start a conversation with "I don't know" prepares both parties in the conversation to fully and fairly consider the quality of the arguments being advanced. This is an undeniable win or human knowledge.

I've since fully embraced humility as a foundational principle in my life. I am wary of certainty in whatever form, and I strive never to profess that I "know" something.

This has consequences that aren't always fun. I find myself disappointingly indecisive these days, as well as generally distrustful of reality. Still, though, humility has been so important in my recent development that I'm willing to accept these failings in order to continue to reap its benefits....