“It aint what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.
Its what you know for sure that just aint so”
- Mark Twain -
What do you think are the 2 most dangerous words in the English language?
When I ask this in my seminars and workshops I generally get answers like “I cant, you should, that’s wrong, I must” and so on.
But as a business owner, the 2 most dangerous words are “I know”.
When you say “I know”, your brain shuts down and moves onto the next thing, after all if you think you know whatever you just thought or heard about, why would your brain waste any further time and energy on the point.
Its not so much the big obvious things that we think understand that make the difference, it’s the finer distinctions on these things that will give enable you to make giant leaps ahead in your business.
Think about it this way.
These days it is extremely rare that new things are being discovered. You might say that is not true Brad, there are new things coming out all the time. I would put it to you that more often than not, it is existing things that are being combined in new ways. We are not discovering new elements for the periodic table or laws of physics much anymore.
Think about your smartphone. Initially the first smart phones were combinations of music players and mobile phones. Over the years smartphones have evolved by combining cameras, GPS, voice recognition, movement sensors and so on.
Lets say you are having a discussion with one of your employees, a friend or even your kids. They say something to which your initial reaction “oh yeah, I know that”. Immediately you have killed the opportunity to potentially discover something new through a combination of what you have knowledge about and what the other person has knowledge about. That is why a key skill in being able to grow as a person and business owner is the skill of asking great questions.
So how do you combat this little voice in your head that may have a habit of saying
The first step is to become consciously aware that you are doing it.
When I first started hearing myself do “I know” it was very confronting, so don’t be surprised if you get a little annoyed with yourself. Now this doesn’t mean that you cant ever say or think “I know” again, but the point is to notice when you do it and challenge yourself to learn something more.
The second step is to say out loud or to yourself, “that is interesting”. Now when your brain hears the word “interesting” it re-engages as it loves interesting things.
The third step is to ask yourself a quality question to help you find a quality answer or simply say to the person you are talking to “tell me more about it that”. Then listen intently and look for the finer distinction.