It’s simple, our brain works like this…
You’re asked a question. Within a millisecond your conscious mind takes a quick look around for the answer and when it can’t find one bounces back with the ‘I don’t know’ response. But your conscious mind is limited to the amount of stuff that it can store and recall.
Your unconscious mind also receives the same question at the same time, but being the good servant that it is, allows the conscious mind first dibs at a response. When it responds with an ‘I don’t know’ – even though it’s a non-answer – the unconscious mind recognises that a response has been given and backs off. Waiting for just a second before you zip back with the ‘I don’t knows’ allows your unconscious mind to recognise that the conscious mind is calling them to action – find the answer please. Over time your conscious and unconscious minds will start to play together better – sharing the lead role as is needed.
All too frequently however, we discover the get out of jail card of the IDK (I Don’t Know) strategy – you know, like the time when you were 8 and mum asked you where your lunch box was while you were in the back yard playing. Following your IDK strategy meant that mum went and found your lunch box while you kept playing – winning!
For some, their IDK strategy worked like total magic and stayed with them as their default – many adults using it with their kids or partners. Like after what feels like 483 questions in a row following a long day a work, this strategy gets you out of the remaining 292 questions with the wave of your IDK wand. Sounds good doesn’t it?
But what happens when this becomes your full-time go-to response? You abdicate your responsibility – to family, work mates, friends. You might even start to believe that you really don’t know, I mean you’ve heard yourself say it so many times – I don’t know. In short – we start pretending that we don’t know about anything…
The answer? Take a moment and check what your response strategy is. If you’re running the IDK pattern, is that where you want to be?