In their landmark book “Made To Stick” Chip and Dan Heath unpack what they call “the curse of knowledge.” It’s describes how knowing something causes us to forget what it felt like to not know it.
My kids display the curse of knowledge with expert precision. Noah will come up to me, eyes full of passion, and say something like, “I was thinking about it, and I don’t agree at all. That guy with the thing really is sort of strange and I think we should just do it.”
Uh… are we referring to something he’s played on his X-Box, maybe? Or what happened at school? Inter-planetary space travel, perhaps? I have no idea. But I can tell this strange thing he’s referring to makes perfect sense to him. He can taste it, it’s so clear. But he’s forgotten that I haven’t been along for the ride. I have no context.
Christians forget they may have taken years to find Christ, expecting their friends to “get it” right away.
Sometimes I work on something all day long—let’s say, a holiday idea—so when I get home from work I’m brimming with excitement. I share this product with Shauna (refined by five hours’ worth of mental capital) in thirty-two seconds flat. And expect her to be there with me when I’m done, praising God for my brilliant idea without a moment’s hesitation.
It happens in church when a leadership team shares the launch of a new initiative they’ve been working on for months when the rest of the church is hearing for the first time.
We so easily forget the power of slowing down and using subtitles. “Meanwhile, back at the ranch…” Ok. So we’re back at the ranch. Got it. Proceed.
We need to remember what it felt like to resist an idea at first, to work through good and bad alternatives, to forge the path we’ve now chosen. We also need to allow people time to take the journey too, instead of teleporting them to the destination. No matter how shiny it feels to us once we’re there.
What about you? Have you ever been the victim of someone else expecting you to “get” something they worked on a long time? Do you ever do that to others?