Back in elementary school, nothing was more humiliating than being called on for a question you didn’t know the answer to.
I remember my heart pounding, my palms sweating, panic erasing any hope of finding the right answer.
I don’t know what lesson that was supposed to teach us, but I do know I’ve carried the fear of not knowing into my adult life.
Why is there still so much shame in not knowing the answer?
I kind of get it, we don’t want to look stupid or unprepared. At work we have to seem smart so we can get…promoted? With friends have to know things so people will…like us?
Usually my instinct is to make something up. Cause that always works out so well. Maybe I get lucky and stumble on the right answer. More likely, I’m wrong and lose a bit of credibility. I look pretty stupid doing it too.
When I’ve been brave enough to say “I don’t know,” a crazy thing happened – no one laughed at me. No one called me stupid. I told them I would get back to them with an answer and I probably gained some trust while I did it.
I guess we’re not in elementary school any more.