May 14, 2021 | by Budi Tanrim
We often protect ourselves from the embarrassment of not knowing. Schools train us that not knowing the answer is terrible. As a result, we rarely say, “I don’t know.”
Worse, instead of admitting that we don’t know, we give our reasoning anyway. We keep pushing our opinion based on our assumptions.
That precisely what holds us back from learning.
That behavior can lead us to be “skilled incompetence.” As Chris Argyris puts it, “…people who are incredibly proficient at keeping themselves from learning.”
Here’s something you can practice:
The first trick is to commit to being honest when you don’t know something. But, this alone can be tricky. Our instinct will override our consciousness to protect us from the embarrassment of not knowing.
The additional trick is to be sensitive to your body during a conversation. Whenever you feel something weird in your gut or chest, it’s a signal from your body that you unsure. In fact, that’s how the lie detector works. When most people lie, they creates some internal stress, affecting blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiration.
When that happens, take a brief pause. Ask yourself, am I trying to protect myself from the embarrassment?