Wow! You might not understand but it’s taken me several hours just to put finishing touches to this post and also make some announcements at the end of it. I’m hoping it’d be worth your time and read. Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Back in secondary school/college, do you remember those really smart students always admired and looked up to?(at least secretly) but your only reason for ‘beefing ‘ them was because their own was too much! They seemed to come out within the first to third position range and so the whole class just accepted that they didn’t even bother striving so hard to come close to the third position. The gap between them and the rest of the class was very obvious. You’d hear things like, “the class belongs to them”, “let’s just manage to do well at least not fail and get promoted.” Lol which of these two categories did you fall in? Thinking about this and how these positions don’t really matter much. It teaches me a lot about life and understanding that no matter how much you know, there’s still much more to learn.

Before I go on, I need to state this:

I have someone amazing who has been really pivotal to my growth these past years. Wait till I introduce you to the entity lol. If you have noticed in a few of my write ups, I always talk about that person lol. That’s because they’ve been present and consistent through the years. This is one powerful lesson I learnt in my day to day interactions with them. Learning to say, “I don’t know”. Three simple words yet filled with the desire to know much more. It is one powerful tool we all must learn. I’d tell you why!


Ever since I began seeing lessons in every thing I go through, it translated to also learning from folks I converse with even without their knowledge.

I remember few years back, I had the Lord deal with my mind about this my human perfectionism thing(if you’ve read this post or listened to me talk about it here you’d understand me better) and how it was hindering me from appreciating/benefitting from people like I should. At that time, there were standards I set in my minds that I felt if anyone didn’t meet up to, they were not to be looked at the second time. If you surpassed them, it felt too good to be true. I always wanted things to go my way! If they didn’t, I’d throw a tantrum and gush about how my idea is actually better. The funny thing about this is that my standards were not always consistent lol. It was inconsistent with different people.

All these to say that even when it came to the things I was learning, I felt pressured to always know even when I sincerely didn’t because I had no control over it. I remember there was a time I was feeling entitled to people’s information or stuff that was going on with them. I’d wonder why they told their friend and not me especially because I was a friend too. I mean why didn’t you inform me? Lol

It’s in this context I’m writing guys. I’m not implying that you shouldn’t learn when you don’t know a subject but you must come to a point in your life where you don’t allow what you don’t know define or determine your mood or relationship with others making you appear insecure.

Here are some points you need to constantly remind yourself of everyday:

It’s Okay to say “I don’t know”: If you really don’t, why beat yourself up? Say it anyway and let the devil and your egoistic prideful self admit it (ouch! That hurts). It’s pride to think you have all the answers. Some of you were doing fine till you allowed pride make you into an insecure person. So tell me, have you ever been in a position where you were asked a question you didn’t know but instead of admitting that, you ended up disgracing yourself? It’s just like those street interviews of random Nigerians where they’d be asked “what is photosynthesis?”. They go, “it’s a place for taking pictures”๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜‚ Just stop it dear!!๐Ÿ™„ Say, “I don’t know”! It’s perfectly okay to.

Stop Trying to Always Prove a Point: Maybe you need to also stop trying to ALWAYS prove a point during that conversation. A lot of insecure people have this problem, thinking they should have answers all the time. It becomes a problem when all you look forward to during conversations with your friend, parent or neighbour is proving a point no one asked you to.๐Ÿ˜†

You’re not necessarily Defined by What you Know: while people would give you credit for a good work done or knowledge you shared with them, you must never make that define you or depend on that for your happiness. A lot of people are in crazy and complicated situations because they let their constant need to get approval overshadow their sanity. While it’s good to be vast in several areas, don’t seek to be defined by how much you know.


Don’t Always Seek to Please People: If you really probed yourself and looked back on situations where you didn’t admit you were learning or that you didn’t know a particular thing, you just might have been a people pleaser. Somehow, some folks believe that you should know everything, have an answer to every question you ask them. Sadly, many have become people pleasers as a result. Learn to do this more often and start becoming more confident.

Feigned Knowledge is worse than ignorance: Need I say more?

You must know that there’s power in being content while still wanting to know more.

Does anyone relate with this? How has saying “I don’t know” helped you stay sane or appear wise/foolish to people? What would you do differently on reading this? Share your thoughts in the comments section ๐Ÿ™‚

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9 thoughts to “The Power of “I Don’t Know”

  • Joshua Ade-Omowaye

    Hmm… “Power of I don’t know”
    Thanks for this.
    Generally, words have power, contain power and are power.
    I am a fan of some, such as “I’m sorry” , “sorry about that”…
    Candidly, I’m not a fan of “I don’t know”…lol. I feel it makes me look “unlearned” and most times I’m expected to know but sincerely I don’t. Whenever, I give an answer, I guess, sometimes it works and other times I just look plain ‘stupid’.
    Anyways, it doesn’t hurt to say I don’t know and I feel it stirs up the desire to know.
    Thanks again

  • Olaki Mercy

    Thanks Deb,
    I can relate with it all and I must confess I’ve been there a lot (feigned knowledge), always trying to prove that I know but I think while growing up and meeting those who really know I got to outgrown that mindset and accept that I really don’t know and since I began to confess my “I don’t know” state I began to “know”.

  • Mafioso

    Nice read.
    Well, I used to be in the top category and still admired those above me.

    First off, thank you for your illustration of his street interviews. Whenever I see such videos, I used to ask myself “why can’t these people just say no?” Not that there’s a reward to it sef ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿฟโ€โ™‚๏ธ. I read on Twitter that most Nigerians tend to be so sure of whatever they spill, even if it’s rubbish and it’s termed “the arrogance of certainty in uncertainty”, which is worse than ignorance.

    1st point.
    Inasmuch as it’s okay to say “I don’t know”, there are situations (outliers) where saying that shouldn’t be your final response. A scenario, where a superior (Oga in local parlance) asks something of one as it relates to their job. Even if they don’t know they shouldn’t pride in their ignorance and instead say something like “I don’t know but I could check it out if you give me time.” Saying that would cause a difference, don’t you think so?

    4th point.
    Instead of going the “I don’t know” route (always), whatever it is, they should see it as an opportunity to learn (and maybe get to teach the person that asked).
    IMO, There’s a thin line between that and being a people pleaser.

    I’d like to think that saying “I don’t know” should depend on the situation and your saying that shouldn’t be an excuse to ignorance.


    • Deborah Briggs

      Hi Mafioso!
      Thank you for this. Lolโ€ฆyeah, I doubt it too. Itโ€™s one way those media companies derive video content. One of the easiest if you ask me.

      I love how you addressed points after the other. The idea is admitting not knowing so you can get to actually know. To keep being curious while having the right mindset. Yes please! A thin line.

      Thanks so much for your time ๐Ÿ™‚
      Is this your first time?

  • Morenike Alugo

    Nice read, thanks Deborah

  • Emmanuel Phronesis

    To an Average Nigerian, making use of the Words “I don’t know” makes you look like a dummy through their actions or reactions.

    In any case, in this part of the world, it’s so difficult for majority of persons to utilize those words on account of what may follow afterwards.. So they lean toward gambling with the questions.

    Imagine saying “I don’t know” to couple of questions, you know what the result will be at the end of the day.

    I feel in other not to be Caught up in situations like this, one ought to subject him/herself to consistent learning and reasoning.

    In this way, instead of saying “I don’t know,” i could search for other engaging words to skip the questions.

    • Deborah Briggs

      Awesome line of thoughts really!!
      I absolutely love this but I wonder why you had to bring in the average Nigerian line of thought but to me, it wasn’t needed lol. Maybe it’s because you do not understand my perspective or it’s because of the way I’ve trained my mind to operate, but I think you missed the idea I tried to pass across. I understand that you might be saying so because we’re in this geographical location currently but if you’ve known me for long, you’d know that I’m all for getting the right knowledge, learning and all that. I’m in no way insinuating that you shouldn’t engage in meaningful conversations or be vast in knowledge of things that matter, I do a lot! Neither am I implying that you shouldn’t prepare well for interviews or exams, far from it!
      But look at it this way, I’m referring to the period before you seek the ‘next right knowledge’ about what you do not know and the mindset you have while at it. I’m referring to folks who like to appear smart, but when they open their mouths, you wish they had been quiet all along, these kinds of people refuse to admit their ignorance. There’s nothing wrong with saying “you don’t know”. I’m referring to people who always feel entitled to an information(especially in relationships) and they always want to be in the know whether it concerns them or not. It’s more about people who worry so much trying to prove a point that it subtly affects their perception of themselves.

      I hope I made small sense? Lol looks like you’re new on the blog??? If yes, welcome!!!! I’m happy you shared your thoughts sincerely. Thanks so much for your time.



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