Two kinds of ‘don’t know’

I don’t know French. I can’t play the piano. I have no clue how to catch a bony spinefish. This is the first kind of don’t know. Stuff you don’t know because you haven’t been taught it yet. Books are awfully good at solving this problem, so are good teachers.

The second kind of ‘don’t know’ is often confused with the first type, but it’s really quite different. This is the person who says they don’t know how to cook, or that they can’t balance a checkbook. This isn’t about technique or a lack of knowledge. It’s usually either fear or lack of interest. People with this type of deficit won’t find the answer in a book or (usually) in a seminar either. You don’t learn how to cook from a cookbook.

The answer lies in trial and error and motivation and in overcoming the fear that makes us avoid the topic in the first place.

Posted by Seth Godin at:

One of the ways I contribute to society is by coaching High School lacrosse. When a player says “I don’t know how to play lax, throw lefty, or (fill in the skill here). Or, “I just can’t.” That is the 2nd type of not knowing. You can do all these things, you just need to try and fail countless times! Failure is the risk that makes you strong. Don’t avoid the thing you don’t know, embrace it and strengthen your game!

The 1st type of not knowing is also applicable to lacrosse. Knowing on that level is the result of practice and having a good teacher, which is what I’m here for 🙂 Think about how this can be applicable to your own life


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