The truth about these 3 little words

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How many times do you say, “I don’t know”?

What do you want? “I don’t know.”
What do you want for dinner? “I don’t know.”
What’s next in your career path? “I don’t know.”

It’s easy to answer with “I don’t know.”It’s like an internal default setting – much like Times New Roman is a default font on your computer.

As a distinction, I’m not talking about fact-oriented questions like “what time did the mail arrive?” If you didn’t know what time the mail was delivered, your answer would be “I don’t know.” And that’s a fact.

What I am talking about are bigger questions. Things like, what do you want out of your life? What’s your Bigger Game? Where would you like to be in five years? It’s easy to say, “I don’t know,” either because you’ve never been asked or perhaps you want to make sure you give the right answer.

Here’s the deal with “I don’t know:” If you keep saying it, you’ll get more of “I don’t know.”

But what if you don’t know? Should you just wait until you do? No! If you don’t know something, start to make it up… simply give an answer (notice I said, “give ananswer,” and not “give the right answer”).

Start with “What I know is…” and see what falls out of your mouth. Instead of defaulting to “I don’t know,” go in the direction of “what I know is…” and then complete the sentence. Without attempting to throw out some answers, you won’t get anywhere.

Remember, it doesn’t matter if you have the right answer. It might sound something like this: “What I know is that I don’t have the answer right now. What I know is it’s unfolding in front of me. What I know is there’s work for me to do here.”

When you state what you know, movement starts to occur. Guaranteed. This is a simple, yet profoundly altering skill to practice.

Homework Game
Keep a daily log of how many times you say I don’t know. I think you’ll be surprised!

Then, start to say, “What I know is…”If you’re unsure how to complete the sentence, make something up. And have fun with this!

Start knowing something… anything. Remember, life is all made up.




  • Dean Regan Reply

    Ah, the “big” questions.

    “But, the fact of the matter is, I don’t know.”

    When I hear that — from myself or others — I try to respond compassionately. “Well, that’s cool. It’s a ‘big question’, perhaps you just need a little time to listen to yourself for the answer. Would you like to explore that now?” or if there’s a decent amount of energy that seems to be building toward the actual answer, I’ll just say: “Guess!” Whatever comes out next will keep the conversation going in the direction of the current day’s answer.

    Thanks, Rick for bringing up the “I don’t know question.” Right now I have some “I don’t know” answers that I’m exploring about how “big” I want my future to be. I’m exploring courage and commitment and fun and abundance all at once.

    The best thing I can do right now is GO OFF AND JOURNAL. First I’m going to go off and SING … then this evening I’ll journal.

    My best to you and everyone in the world of BIGGER GAME and PRODUCE U.

  • Sherry Caserta Reply

    What I know is this is a great way of thinking. One more small way to train yourself into a healthier spirit. Thank you

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