Why I erased the words “I don’t know” from my vocabulary
How many times in your life have you said out loud, “I don’t know”?
What do you want? “I don’t know.”
What movie do you want to see tonight? “I don’t know.”
What’s next for you in your career path? “I don’t know.”
Many of us answer so quickly with “I don’t know.” It’s almost 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 such as “what time did the mail arrive today?” If you truly 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 next for your career? Where would you like to be five years from now? It’s easy to default to “I don’t know” when we respond, perhaps because we’ve never been asked or we want to make sure we have the right answer first.
Now here’s the deal: If you keep saying, “I don’t know,” you’re going to get more of “I don’t know.”
But what if you don’t know? Should you just sit there and wait until you do? No! If you don’t know something, start to make it up… simply give an answer. Notice that I said, “give an answer,” and not “give the right answer.”
Without attempting to throw out some answers, you won’t get anywhere!
Start your sentence with “What I know is…” and see what falls out of your mouth. Instead of defaulting to “I don’t know” when asked a question, go in the direction of “What I know is…” and then complete the sentence. 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 such a simple, yet profoundly altering life skill to practice.
Try this: Keep a daily log of how many times you say “I don’t know” (I think you might be surprised!).
Then, start to use the phrase “What I know is…” If you don’t know how to complete the sentence, make something up. Have fun with this!
Start knowing something… anything! And remember, life is all made up.
Let me know how it goes!