The sneaky thought: "I don't know"

We’ve talked before about “sneaky thoughts”

These are thoughts that look so innocent.

 These are thoughts that certainly feel true to us and they may even feel like you are “thinking positively”. 

While thinking positively may seem like a good thing to do, did you know that a “good” thought really has more to do with how useful the thought is?

You see, a sneaky thought – disguised in innocent words can sometimes be really unhelpful. It can sometimes lead us to feelings that will not lead us to the results we want. It may cause us to feel overwhelmed, or unmotivated. Or may even cause us to self sabotage.  

Let’s explore a sneaky thought that we all have – we all use and we may not know how it is keeping us from moving forward. 

I don’t know.

This little thought can get us off the hook every time.

Our brain hears something it’s not sure about and it heads straight to the super highway it has created of “I don’t know” responses.

It doesn’t even have to think or consider an alternate response. 

If it’s too hard? Say I don’t know. If it’s overwhelming? Say I don’t know.

 It’s something new? I don’t know is the perfect answer. 

What do you want to do? I don’t know is the perfect answer to every question.

I don’t know completely blocks access from even trying to think. I don’t know allows us to stay in a comfort zone . The only problem is the comfort zone is the waiting area of our lives. 

I don’t know can become a habit. A habit to use as an excuse to allow your brain to sit back and not work. 

What if I don’t know is just a cop out? 

Here are three things you can do to override the sneaky thought of I don’t know;

  1. Ask yourself “what if I did know”? If you ask yourself a question and believe you know the answer then you will be able to access so much of your wisdom. We have so much more wisdom in ourselves than we give ourselves credit for! We don’t allow ourselves to access it because we indulge in “I don’t knows” and the subsequent confusion and overwhelm.
  • The second  way is to not focus on the “I don’t know”. You may truly truly believe that you don’t know and can’t even take a guess, or that you can’t figure it out – so what I want you to focus on is asking “ok – so what DO I  know for sure”? You may even try a bunch of things and see what doesn’t work. So then you can say, “Ok, I know that doesn’t work, I know that doesn’t work, I know that doesn’t work. So here’s what I do know”. This is a great way to address the “I don’t know” Start the answer off with “Here’s what I do know”…Now you have shifted your brain’s focus to exploring again. 
  • Thirdly, what if instead of coming right out and saying “I don’t know” – we tack on the word “Yet” . “I don’t know, yet”? What does that do? It opens our brain up to explore. What if instead of saying “I don’t know” – you say “I don’t know right now” or “I don’t know but I am going to find out”. Again, see how we go from no possibility to endless possibilities? We open our brains up to explore. We go from being closed and cut off to being open and inviting!

So the next time something comes up – whatever it is and you hear yourself saying “I don’t know” I want you to ask yourself: 

  • What if I do know? What would the answer be? 
  • Or:  What do I know for sure? 
  • Or  add on to “I don’t know” – add on – yet, or a but …I’m going to figure it out, I’m learning . Then go figure it out. 

Don’t waste your life in the I don’t know zone. When you stay in that zone, you block all of your progress, you block all of your opportunity to go into the unknown, and you block all of your wisdom.