The Curse Of Knowledge

Hey there!

Ever talk with someone knowledgeable on a subject, and they simply left you in the dust with jargon that they knew, but you didn’t? Or have you started a class or coaching session and had the urge to say, “Oh, yeah, I know that already.”?

Both of these are examples of what’s called “the curse of knowledge,” and I’d like to give you a permission slip to break that curse:

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Hope this helps!


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hey there it’s David H Lawrence the 17th
I’m gonna do something with my
microphone right now I’m going to tap
out a song and I want you to think do
you know what the song is what’s the
song that I’m tapping out here ready
I know what the song is do you know what
the song is it’s what I want to talk to
you about today is the curse of
knowledge I’ve been guilty of it I’ll
say something where I use a phrase that
I’m familiar with I’m familiar with the
meaning of the phrase and it leaves
someone who isn’t familiar with the
phrase behind scratching their head
going what was that what did he just say
it happens in business all the time you
know we’re going to do world-class
minimization of risk we’re gonna have a
lower risk profile we’re going to really
engage our customers in a great journey
you know all these buzz words that
people use number one because they know
what they mean and number two because if
they don’t use those words they don’t
look like they know what they’re talking
about this curse of knowledge can leave
people who need to engage need to be a
part of the situation behind and so you
want to be careful about that no there
was a woman this is all from an article
that I read in in Harvard Business
there was a Stanford University graduate
student her name was Elizabeth Newton
who conducted the experiment that I just
did with you where she would have people
tap a song that they could hear the
melody of in their head and they would
have someone who is listening to the
taps try and figure out what the song is
so I’m gonna do another one for you tell
me if you know what this is
ya know alright so here’s the thing the
success ratio that was predicted by the
tappers they asked the tappers if you
tap that how many times out of 100 do
you think that the person listening to
your taps will know the song and they
predicted half the time you know some
people all know the song but turns out
two percent of the time people could
figure out what the song was just by
tapping the the rhythm of the song so
just so you know the first song that I
tapped for you was Oh Susanna Oh Susanna
oh don’t you cry for me and the second
one did you know that the second one was
happy birthday happy birthday to you
happy birthday to you so if you didn’t
know that it’s okay it’s the curse of
knowledge that I had thinking well
surely anybody could figure out what
that is by the tapping and if you did
know great I’m just an excellent tapper
the point is when you are acquiring
information from a teacher or from a
coach or from a consultant don’t be
afraid to ask questions don’t be afraid
to completely be open to the idea that
perhaps they are suffering from the
curse of knowledge that they assume that
you know something that you don’t yet
know it’s essential especially when
you’re paying for courses or you’re
paying somebody by the hour to coach you
or to be a consultant you want to make
sure you’re getting the benefit from
that and the value from that now there’s
an alternative version of the curse of
knowledge that I want to share with you
that some people use it isn’t really the
same the curse of knowledge is sometimes
it’s it’s it ties in to what I tell
people when I’m about to start a class
with them I say look what I’d love for
you to do is leave behind at the door as
we begin this class the notion of oh
yeah I know that already
yeah I’m familiar with that let’s move
on because sometimes I present things
that people have an idea of but maybe
not the way I presented or the way I
perceive it or the way I think it’s
useful and so the curse of knowledge is
when you say to yourself yeah yeah I got
and I understand that that’s fine what
else you got take the moment even if you
think you know something and listen
carefully to what people are saying to
you if you trust them if you if you
value their counsel if you value their
abilities to teach you don’t discount
what they have to say in service of yeah
I got that I I’m good with that I
already know that I already have that
the curse of knowledge can prevent you
from figuring out some things or
acquiring some things you may not have
known you may not know what those are
all about when you are confused by a
teacher or a consultant or a coach what
do you say let me know in the comments
below do you ask them to clarify do you
ask them to share with you what they
mean by that or do you just go okay and
move on because you’re embarrassed let
me know in the in the comments below I
want you to ask me if I ever bring
anything up I want you to say what does
that mean I don’t understand what that
means because I love explaining things
so there you go
but do leave me a comment let me know
about this in your life how you learn
how things are taught to you what you do
when you’re not you’re not quite on
board with what’s going on I’d love to
have you subscribe to my channel if you
want to do that go ahead and click on my
head or click on the subscribe button if
there’s no head there and if you want to
see the latest video that I’ve done in
this series where you can just go ahead
and click on that one and it’ll play for
you it plays just like that it’s awesome
I’m David H Lawrence seventeenth thank
you so much for watching and I’ll see
you tomorrow



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  1. Hi David!
    Thank you for your diligence in producing these daily videos!
    My experience has been if I have a question, I just ask it.
    More often than not, there are others in the room that have the same question and do not want to look silly asking.
    I look silly all the time, so why not learn as much as possible in every situation??
    Best regards,

  2. I am always impressed with how you encourage your students to ask questions…and to ask them in the Facebook group so that everyone can benefit from the answers! Not only do I not feel “stupid” for asking questions about your classes…I feel like I get brownie points for asking more!!