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  • Writer's picturejonwilson3

The "I Don't Know How" Lie

I feel lucky to have seen the incredible changes in technology in the last few decades. When I was 8 or 9 years old I played around with electronics, with a solitary book as my guide. As I got a bit older I was blown away by my first computer - a Vic-20 - which I programmed by typing in software from magazines!

At university I witnessed the start of the public internet - first email and then slowly but surely more and more websites. It seemed miraculous to be able to ask Alta Vista (no Google then!) to search the entire, and not very big, internet for whatever I was interested in.

Even though I was well into adulthood before the internet was readily accessible, it is hard to imagine how we managed before!

Before the internet, if you wanted an answer to a question you had 2 main options:

  • Ask someone

  • Look it up in a book

So back then, it was reasonable to say “I don’t know how” (although I also think what follows was still often the case!)

Nowadays that’s not such a plausible argument. Tell me what you want to achieve and after a few minutes on Google I’ll tell you how, or at least give you a few options to choose from.

Want to become an astronaut? Here you go:

When I work with clients I’ll help them to get clear on what they really want. We may be talking about something tangible “out there” like moving into a more fulfilling career or creating something new in the world, or something inside like a desire to experience more joy and ease in life. This naturally leads them to the question of how to achieve that.

But they already know how. I might ask: What would you advise a friend to do who wants to achieve this?

Then they can tell me, often quite easily! Or they know that a few minutes on Google and they will have the answer, or a few options to try.

A deeper question is: What is preventing you from taking action towards this?

“I don’t know how” is often masking a fear. A fear of rejection, failure, embarrassment, and more. Or even a fear of success.

Can I tell you that “I don’t know how” is always a lie? No. But if you assume it to be true, it leads to a much more powerful line of enquiry.

So what do you want but don’t know how to get it? Is that really true?


#100daysofcreation #idontknowhow #leadership #coaching

This article is part of 100 Days of Creation, my challenge to myself to write 100 articles in 140 days, each taking no longer than 30 minutes to write and publish.

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