"I Don't Know" - What it Really Means

"I don't know"...Harmless enough response to a question, isn't it? Perhaps you use it quite frequently.

This is just a quick post to highlight what I am finding in working with my clients.

I find that the ways the response "I don't know" is most often used is not in the circumstance where somebody truly does not know the answer to the question, but in one of several other situations, such as:

  • Facing Fear: "I feel resistance to thinking about this - it may identify a fear I have that I'm not willing to face;"
  • Time versus Priority: "This is not really a priority for me to think about so let's move on;"
  • Solve My Problems: "This feels like it will take a lot of energy to think about - I want you to do it for me;"
  • Processing: "I need to digest this - it's a big idea and I don't know what to do with it right now."

On rare occasions in my business, it means "I genuinely do not know the answer to that question, but I am going to find out."

Language helps to create our reality - what you say is what you ultimately do and how you show up. "I don't know" can be seen as avoidant behaviour, procrastination, lack of creativity or desire to solve a problem - and in some cases, just plain lazy! I believe that this 'no response' response creates our reality, too - it's the thoughts behind the non-committal and ambiguous words that matter.

Before you answer "I don't know", try digging deeper - if "I don't know" wasn't a phrase, what would your response be?

Get to the real answer behind those words so you can gain greater understanding of the problem and greater self-awareness.

Want to create a different reality? Get on a call and let's see if we're a fit!