10.22.2010

23+ Ways to Stop Pretending You Know Everything.

Pretending that we know everything is probably the worst self-liming behavior that we do.

What’s especially challenging about this bad habit is that our culture pressures us to believe that we should know everything about anything.  That to be at the top of our game, we have to be all knowing.

The reality is that knowing everything is just not possible.

It’s not.

And to pretend otherwise is just not healthy…

But there’s a bigger issue here.

Knowing everything means that you need no one to help you.

You know it all and that means that you need (and will get) no help.

And no help means that you’re no closer to your dream tomorrow than you were today.

It’s a horrible cycle we put ourselves in.

Pretending that we know more than we really do is one big reason that we’re not as successful as we really should be.

  • It’s the reason that we don’t ask our prospects better questions. We assume that we know the answers.  So why waste time asking anyone else?
  • It’s the reason that we don’t speak kindly and candidly.  We assume that we’re going to get the same answer we get every time.  And being passive aggressive shields us from actually having to care
  • It’s the same reason that we don’t read and educate ourselves. We assume that it’s got to be the same old things that we’ve heard forever.  And it limits our ability to master new things.

Pretending that we know everything stops us from taking advantage of the opportunities around us.

It not only alienates people who would otherwise help us, it:

  • Limits our creativity to explore new ideas
  • Prevents us from complimenting successes that aren’t our own
  • Stops us from seeing the world outside our own prejudices

Frankly, it’s the kind of attitude and actions that come from fear and panic.  Not from a champion.

So in place of ego here are a few ways to know more without needing to pretend anything:

  1. Take notes while reading a book
  2. Ask a mentor “what you can do better”
  3. Listen to contrarian points of view
  4. Put out a risky question in a crowded room
  5. Reach out for help when it get’s tough
  6. Write down the last 5 reasons you failed
  7. Stop saying “uhh, huh” and “yeah” when you don’t know
  8. Be grateful for unexpected lessons
  9. Say “tell me more” more often
  10. Keep a running list of books you want to read
  11. Keep asking “why”
  12. Immediately apologize when you are passive aggressive
  13. Share key knowledge that you have acquired
  14. Take 3 new friends to coffee and learn from their talents
  15. Stop watching so much television (pet peeve, but still true)
  16. Tour a museum and take a few pics
  17. Put together a list of lessons you’ve learned
  18. Teach yourself not to complain about anything
  19. Practice celebration (for even the small things)
  20. Keep your head up when your down
  21. Read the USA Today newspaper (or Wall Street Journal)
  22. Adapt new vocabulary into every day conversation
  23. Trade tweeting for reading
  24. Be kind when you know someone else doesn’t know

Why pretend to know, when you can create a habit of knowing?

Why pose when you can empower?

Why do when you can be?


  • Stefscrib

    Dan- I wish I didn’t need to read your list but I am afraid that it will need frequent re-reading. I actually heard myself acting “all knowing” on a new business call – so busy trying to impress that I didn’t get some key info I could/should/ would have liked to know. I needed a lot my “#9″. Thanks for the “conversation”.

  • Stefscrib

    Dan- I wish I didn’t need to read your list but I am afraid that it will need frequent re-reading. I actually heard myself acting “all knowing” on a new business call – so busy trying to impress that I didn’t get some key info I could/should/ would have liked to know. I needed a lot my “#9″. Thanks for the “conversation”.

    • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

      You are welcome for the conversation. We all need to focus on this more. We all need to be a little more selfless. :-)

      Dan

      p.s. I wrote this for me. I am kind of a “big offender” in this area…

  • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

    You are welcome for the conversation. We all need to focus on this more. We all need to be a little more selfless. :-)

    Dan

    p.s. I wrote this for me. I am kind of a “big offender” in this area…

  • Barbara Weaver Smith

    Nice list Dan–great advice. However, I found it from a Tweet, so question #23. You can read and Tweet. Or maybe Tweeting is a way to find unusual and unexpected things to read?

    • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

      Ha!

      As my mother would say: ” Moderation.” Of course I usually chose the “extreme” route.

      As a sidenote: I love the book you and Tom wrote. Huge fan. Tom is a good friend and I look forward to getting to know you better. :-)

      Cheers,

      Dan

  • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

    Ha!

    As my mother would say: ” Moderation.” Of course I usually chose the “extreme” route.

    As a sidenote: I love the book you and Tom wrote. Huge fan. Tom is a good friend and I look forward to getting to know you better. :-)

    Cheers,

    Dan

  • Barbara Weaver Smith

    Nice list Dan–great advice. However, I found it from a Tweet, so question #23. You can read and Tweet. Or maybe Tweeting is a way to find unusual and unexpected things to read?

  • http://ekinci.tumblr.com Ky Ekinci

    …wonderful advice, thank you!

  • http://ekinci.tumblr.com Ky Ekinci

    …wonderful advice, thank you!

    • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

      Ky,

      You are very welcome. Thanks for stopping by…

      Dan

  • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

    Ky,

    You are very welcome. Thanks for stopping by…

    Dan

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    I am always searching online for posts that can assist me. Thanks!

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    After reading this I thought it was very enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this post together. Once again I find myself spending way to much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!

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  • Islam Pakhtoon

    So true……. I also have this terrible disease. Need to Fix it up as it can mess up your day

    • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

      You are right.  It can easily mess up your day (and your life) if you’re careful.  

      Dan

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