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Critical to the way you use your available time is the amount of skills at your disposal to convert free time into meaningful output. If all you know how to do is play on that shiny console your free time options are pretty limited. Where to start with adding skills to your current repertoire? Where to start, where to end?

What is Know What You Don’t Know?

Know what you don’t know is a systematic process of working backward from a desired goal or skill detailing the knowledge you need to get from your current level of knowledge.


Why use Know What You Don’t Know?

The frustration caused by how vast a topic can seems when looking at it as a whole is often the reason used for giving up or worse still not trying. I know the first time I tried to teach myself guitar I fell into this trap. I knew what a guitar should sound like, so I went out and bought one along with a song book. For a week I suffered as I sat, for hours whacking at different bits of the book unsuccessfully. A month later a string broke and I never played that guitar again, eventually selling it when I got a good offer for it. I failed. I know now though that it had nothing to do with how hard the guitar is to learn but had everything to do with me not having any clue what I needed to know and in what order I needed to learn it.

Know What You Don’t Know is for me the simplest way to learn a new skill, it’s simply a matter of at a very high level figuring out what is involved in learning your new skill. This is really important in order to acquire a well rounded study program as well. I often find that I tend to spend more time  on the excercises I enjoy rather than the ones that I need to work on. This well rounded approach has tons of knock on benefits as well. As an example the second time I tried to learn to play the guitar I faired a lot better until I got a stuck with a couple of barre chords. Try as  I might I did not have the dexterity to hold the chord and produce a clear crisp sound.


At first I kept at it trying over and over and it didn’t help. I think it actually got worse as I started to get frustrated and lose my cool. Having knowledge of all the things I needed to learn I kept on practicing in all the areas I knew I had to learn. A week later I could play the barre chords easily. As it happens I just didn’t have the strength when I started. What was critical here was the fact that I knew that that barre chord was the be all and end all of my guitar career and I was able to focus on other areas of my playing which ultimately built my skill and dexterity to the point where I succeeded. I have no doubt that it would have taken me twice as long or longer to master that had I kept at only that.

Know What You Don’t Know gives you confidence and direction and keeps you working toward your goal.

If this sounds good to you my next post will be a practical example of how to use Know What You Don’t Know to learn anything.

How to use know what you don’t know a practical example.

Useful links:

Are these three words ruining your life an interesting discussion about the psychology of failure/success by Jonathan Mead on the Zen Habits blog



Real Growth this way

Real Growth this way


It’s a tricky business. You can think you’ve pulled all the weeds of in-authenticity and the next thing you know, you’re realizing you’re doing something for the sake of “growth” that doesn’t really matter. The prolificacy of fake growth often hides in hard-to-find corners of your mind. It often arrives in unassuming forms.

Jonathan Mead – The Number One Self-Development Mistake, And The Fake Growth Addict

In the realm of Personal Development, Real growth is the key indicator of success or failure. So what defines real growth or false growth? Much of the information and programmes in Personal Development available are at best insincere and at worst scams. The belief that your problems can be fixed from the outside in, that your goals can somehow be found in between the covers of  the latest glossy Personal Development book is the myth. Personal Development is well, personal. The Personal Development industry can only help accelerate real growth, it can’t start it.

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