Don’t Say, “I don’t know”… You’re Better Than That!

The first time I’d heard “What’s the difference between ignorance and stupidity?” and then the answer/punch line “I don’t know and I don’t care” was in a movie many years ago. In the movie everyone listening to the person who delivered the punch line began to laugh in a pompous manner. As if their intellect was superior and therefore couldn’t possibly fall into the category of being either ignorant or stupid. 

When I am in a coaching session with someone, I have a rule that anyone over the age of twelve is not allowed to say “I don’t know” when I ask them a question about why they took a specific action or how they feel about something. I explain that after the age of twelve with all of the growing and learning we have done up to that point, we should all know and or have already formulated our own thought processes of what motivates, drives, frightens, and makes up happy. We should all know the reasons behind the actions we take, the things we pursue, the love we feel, what angers us, why we feel frustration, or why we experience emotional pain.

When someone asks you “Why did you do that?” and you reply “I don’t know” it is not an accurate statement and it is definitely not a statement I allow. I think we all know why we’ve done what we’ve done or why we do what we do. We all know what has caused us to take a certain action. Now not wanting to admit it because of guilt, or shame, or fear of reprisal, is still you knowing why you took an action. You now just have other motivations for not wanting to admit it. 

Saying “I don’t know, I will think about it,” is very intelligent because now you are giving conscious thought to something you don’t know. And now you will think about it in order to come to an intelligent conclusion. It could apply to a piece of artwork, a mathematical equation, the breed of a horse, or simply the capital city of a state/country, etc. You are saying to someone that you don’t know the answer, and that you will look it up and come up with an answer to replace the first comment you made of “I don’t know.” It is about being conscious, being aware, and being smart in your own life. Sometimes to formulate the correct answer, the question you ask yourself after “I don’t know” needs to be deeper in order to come to an intelligent answer. 

At times, this doesn’t necessarily always apply easily to your actions or your feelings. Sometimes, the “I don’t know” rolls off of your tongue easily because you are not sure if what you are feeling is right. You know what you’re feeling and you know why you took an action, but you are unsure of whether the feeling is right or the action you took is right. That has to do with “owning” it. Own what you’ve done. Own the feelings that led up to your action and own the feelings the action created. Let’s own what we do. If we’ve done it, it belongs to us and we need to own it and figure it out. Think about what you do, how you feel, who you are, and why you do what you do. What is it that motivates you? What drives you to an action? Why are certain things driving you to the good/bad action you are taking? You should always know the “Why?” 

“I don’t know” should always be followed with “I will think about it” and then should be followed through with the deep conscious contemplation that will bring you to the answer of what you didn’t know. Be smart in your own life.

Peace and Love to the Universe!

Monica Ortiz is a successful Life Coach, Author, and Speaker whose award-winning work has touched thousands of lives over her 20-year career. Her debut book in 2013 received over 100 five-star reviews and critical acclaim, and has led to speaking invitations at leading institutions such as Stanford University on topics ranging from Success in Your Career and Relationships to Shifting Your Energy to Shape Your Reality. She is founder of The Universe Series, a professional organization bringing the tools she teaches to millions of people around the globe. To learn more, visit