Egos are dangerous things. On one hand it's probably good to have confidence in your abilities. Confidence helps your performance in a wide range of endeavors. Studies seem to support that notion.

On the other hand, if you let anyone see your big ego, you're a giant douchebag. So there's that.

I used to think people either have big egos or they don't. But since I adopted a moist robot view of my body, I noticed I can manipulate my ego by manipulating my body chemistry. When my testosterone is high, my ego expands with it. It's simple biology.

I know what spikes my testosterone. It happens primarily through a healthy lifestyle, including sleep, diet, winning and exercise. And you can feel the changes during the day depending on what you're doing. At this point I'll bet I could tell you my relative testosterone levels at any point in my day. When my levels are down, I feel weak and tired and easily defeated. When my levels are high, I think I can do pretty much anything. And I've seen my confidence and self-image completely transform in less than an hour when I intentionally adjust my testosterone levels via my actions.

I long ago abandoned the juvenile idea that people have immutable good and bad traits. The moist robot view is that we can manipulate our traits within surprisingly wide boundaries. And our personalities are fluid during any given day. The angry Scott is nothing like the happy and creative Scott. The horny me is nothing like the satisfied me. So I reject the concept of "me" as some sort of static thing. Instead I see my moist robot container as something I can manipulate to engineer my mood to the situation. There are times when having more ego is useful. There are times when it is better to be humble. I jack my body chemistry as needed.

I have an advantage over most of you because I don't feel embarrassment like a normal human. I couldn't do this job if I did. Today will be a case in point. What follows would be embarrassing for a typical human with normal thresholds of embarrassment. But for a moist robot, it's just an exercise in chemistry adjustment.

Here's my story.

Have you ever heard the saying "You don't know what you don't know"? It's something you sometimes hear in the American business world but it isn't overly common.

I was about to use the saying in a comic and wondered if I was the original author of it. (Ego alert!) So I Googled to see if anyone else had been given credit for it. There's a Socrates quote on a similar theme, but quite different. And at least one other person was wondering about the source of the quote too, which led to a public question on Yahoo. No one else seemed to know the source of the quote either.

So I decided to take credit for it.

This is the sort of thing you do not do when you have socially acceptable levels of humility and the capacity for embarrassment. But moist robots like me are not burdened by such things. To me it was just a button I could push to boost my testosterone. So I did. You can see my claim-grabbing ways here.

I am fully aware that some of you just labelled me an egomaniacal douchebag for claiming authorship of the quote. But doing so jacked up my testosterone. I'm okay with that tradeoff. This moist robot is feeling good and ready to take on the day.


Scott Adams

In other news, now you can add your favorite pro sports schedule to your personal calendar with a few clicks at CalendarTree.com.  (I'm co-founder.) So far we have:

Formula 1


Major League Baseball

FIFA World Cup - Brazil

More on the way...

Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  +25
  • Print
  • Share


Sort By:
Apr 29, 2014
I thought it was Rumsfeld that said that. (checking....) Yes. 2002, he made his known known and unknown unknowns response to a question at a news briefing.


"...there are known knowns; there are things that we know that we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know."
—Donald Rumsfeld, United States Secretary of Defense (2002)

[Lots of people have said they don't know stuff. It's the exact wording of the quote that makes it quotable, not so much the idea behind it. -- Scott]
Apr 29, 2014
I personally find it much easier to boost my ego with clothes. A great pair of shoes and I get admiring comments from women. Add the right top and I've got the men. And I buy the clothes - no stealing involved.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2014
I can clearly recall dozens of people saying "You don't know what you don't know" after completing mid-term and final exams back in the late 70s and early 80s. You didn't come up with this phrase.

[If people were using it in reference to tests, it doesn't make sense. A test question is something that perhaps you "don't know" but you generally KNOW you don't know it. It isn't something you "don't know that you don't know." -- Scott]
Apr 29, 2014
The end of your post goes as follows:

"That's not enough data to know if I am the original source of the saying. But I assume most business jargon starts with one company and spreads. So there's a healthy possibility I'm the author. "

Your entire response sounded reasonable.
Apr 29, 2014
Ego is also actually a kind of battery used in electronic cigarettes. Being as I'm currently using an ecig and have also been reading a lot about them online, when I started reading your piece I assumed it was about the batteries.
"....if you let anyone see your big ego, you're a giant douchebag" - You've no idea how funny that is a world where some ecigs have battery holders that would put a pronstar to shame.
Apr 29, 2014
I believe all unclaimed quotes default back to Mark Twain and/or Yogi Berra.
Get the new Dilbert app!
Old Dilbert Blog