13: Break the Curse of Knowledge and see your gifts

The Curse of Knowledge

I have always loved magic; stage and storybook. “Magic” Johnson is even the reason I am a Lakers fan to this day.

Eventually, I started to learn magic tricks on my own.  There was one trick that I wanted to know above all others. I must have been 8 years old when I first saw it and I watched that old tape 100 times trying to learn how it was done.  Eventually, I did learn the secret from the original magician himself.  The problem was the magic was gone.  I could only see the trick from the eyes of the performer and couldn’t see the magic I experienced as a child.

It impacts us all

This is an issue we all face even if we don’t realize it. Even if we aren’t fans of magic. We all have gifts in our lives where we can’t see the magic anymore because our gift has become commonplace to us.  The Curse of Knowledge is a cognitive bias that comes into effect when an individual, communicating with other individuals, unknowingly assumes that the others have the background to understand.  We assume that because we know something everyone knows something.  Or it is difficult to remember what it is like to not have the knowledge.  In my case, since I understood how the trick was done, everyone else would see through it as well.

How does this affect our gifts? I’m glad you asked.  Have you ever brushed off a compliment from someone because you assume everyone can do the thing you can do?  You may be suffering from the curse of knowledge.  Maybe you have a skill for something that has always come easily to you and so you assume it is easy for everyone.  If you are looking to understand where your gifts are, start by asking other people what you are good at.  You will be told things you will brush off and assume aren’t real gifts because you have become used to them.  They have lost their magic in your eyes, but not in the eyes of others.  Unless you are an egomaniac then you probably think you are good at everything anyway.

How do you regain the magic? In my case, I had to appreciate the skill, practice, and presentation of magic. If I wasn’t fooled I could still appreciate the magic of the performance and the skill required to do some magic.

“District Four” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


Jason Fisher Written by:

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