How to Stop Saying “I Don’t Know” When You Do Know


Listen carefully to yourself for the next 24 hours. Pay attention to how many times during this period you say out loud “I don’t know”.  You might be surprised. I know I was when I tried this.  

  • Where do you want to eat?  
  • What movie do you want to see?  
  • What do you want?  
  • What’s next for you in your career?  
  • What do you want to achieve over the next X amount of time?  
  • What do you want out of your life? 

Your response to the above questions and many others when anyone gives you the option to provide input may be the internal default setting of “I don’t know”. 

I’m not talking about fact-based questions here where if you don’t know the answer it is best to say “I don’t know”. I am talking about the bigger questions others ask you that impact you and your life. Because it impacts you, you should know what you want and help the other person by stating it. 

A fact based question demands the right answer (at least it should) and these bigger personal questions do not need nor do they have the 'right' answer. They only demand your answer.  

If you keep saying, "I don't know," you're going to get more of "I don't know."  Not only that, but you will get what others give you and it may not be your choice any longer.  

Here is the advice I was once given by Rick Tamlyn, one of my mentors and the founder of ‘It’s All Made Up.

“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...(fill in the blank).”

Rick Tamlyn

When you state it this way, trust that movement will come and you will find the answer. 

As Rick says, “Start knowing something…anything! And remember, life is all made up.” 


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