If you’re inexperienced, you’re a Fool

Natalie Portman thinks that inexperience and a lack of knowledge can be empowering. I think that it turns you into a Fool. 

Natalie Portman (a Harvard graduate) returned to Harvard University and made a speech to their graduates, telling them how their inexperience can be beneficial.

She talked about how a lack of knowledge can be empowering. How graduates should utilize their lack of knowledge and experiences to their advantage.

When I first read and listened to her opinion about this, I didn’t agree with her at all. For me personally, I always veer on the side of More Knowledge.

Having more knowledge allows for better decisions. More knowledge makes me feel more confident that what I’m doing is right or efficient or the best thing that I can do.

More knowledge keeps me informed to the happenings around the world, and keeps me in the loop.

And I mean, more knowledge just makes me feel smarter.


(Photo Credit: Brittany Stevens)

And, perhaps most tellingly, maybe I think this way because I’m young. And it’s been drilled into our heads how more experience is useful in the workplace, and how more experience makes you valuable in the eyes of employers.

So in my head the equation works out to More Knowledge = More Experience = Better Abilities when it comes to doing anything.

So inexperience feels like a step back. It feels like the exact opposite of everything we’ve learnt.

But I see the point that she makes about how inexperience helps you. It makes you a fool.

tarot card

In tarot cards, The Fool (bottom left) is one of the 78 cards in a typical deck. In Western societies, a fool is considered an idiot, which is a very negative perception of someone.

But the Tarot Card world often derives very different meanings.

The Fool signifies new beginnings. The sun is shining on him, and he’s looking upwards. The Fool indicates a young (and somewhat naïve) person.

Again, the Western societies would label a naive person negatively.

But The Fool is ready to take on the world. He is unhindered by past mistakes, and unafraid to make new ones. And that allows him to go out of his comfort zone.

And that’s what Natalie Portman was talking about.

To not be afraid to take risks, to not be afraid to go out of your comfort zone to do something you’ve never done before.

Natalie herself highlighted that her inexperience with ballet allowed her to take the risk in accepting the role in Black Swan (she danced when she was a child, but certainly not enough to be considered a professional ballet dancer).


(Photo Credit: Kryziz Bonny)

She didn’t know how hard it was to train for the role, and how much she had to push herself.

And when she eventually did, she couldn’t (maybe didn’t want to) say no or back out. She went in with full force.

And she won an Academy Award for her performance.

A more experienced person would shake his head and say “I’ve tried this before, and I’ve failed in it”.

But an inexperienced Fool would forge ahead, and that’s how he’ll push the boundaries of what he thinks he can take.


(Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt of Pink Sherbet Photography)

Being inexperienced also means you’re brimming with unlimited potential, and you have the power to unleash that potential. You’re not hindered by the past, you’re not afraid to take risks, you don’t let previous hurt stop you from doing what you want.

I’m not suggesting that either one is better, but it’s an interesting point of view, particularly when I constantly hear about how everyone needs more experience.

And I do think that in the grand scheme of things, experience does make you more savvy.

But experience also makes us afraid. Afraid to make more mistakes, afraid to go past what we think we already know, and push the boundaries of society and the limits of our mind.

So are you afraid to be a Fool?

Much Love,

Fari Wu

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