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 movie should we see? “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 an answer,” 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.



  • Suoarna Reply

    How true this rings!! Such a simple set of words that make a difference. Or not. I’ve been going around saying I don’t know what my purpose is/what my next move is/ etc. When what I actually mean is that I’m working on it and I will know at some point! Thank you for bringing my attention toon to this. Sounds so much more positive and energising for me.

    • Rick Reply

      Glad to hear it is pointing your words and life in a new direction– our words design our life! and another tip— always looking for the words of our life purpose can be a comfort zone that has us not simply live our life purpose! What do you care about most, is the best path to your life purpose! Keep me posted! Best to you!

  • Dave Reply

    Rick has the amazing ability to bring things into a positive perspective just when I need them to. Hence why I’ve stuck by his wisdom since our first meeting in Nov. 2015. Thanks, what I know is, you always make me think differently about myself.
    Dave Bahr

    • Rick Reply

      Thank u Dave– keep creating from your life, rather than trying to change your life! It works– and it takes time!

  • Mychal Reply

    What I know is I needed to hear/see these words today, when my future is still in the process of sorting itself out. Thank you

    • Rick Reply

      yes, yes yes!!! could not agree more. and your future looks bright– go collect evidence for a bright future!

  • Michelle Reply

    This really resonated with me today – thank you so much – great blog post!

  • Cathy Reply

    This is fabulous Rick! As an Academic Advisor who is also a CTI coach, I’ve worked with thousands of students of all ages as they plan their education and careers. Many of them will repeatedly answer “I don’t know’ until I remind them it really gives their power away, and it’s no wonder they’re confused! As soon as we focus on what they do know, everything shifts….. 🙂 Always appreciate your insights!

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