Derek Sivers wrote a blog post titled I’m a very slow thinker.
« When someone asks me a deep question, I say, “Hmm. I don’t know.” The next day, I have an answer. »
« People say that your first reaction is the most honest, but I disagree. Your first reaction is usually outdated. Either it’s an answer you came up with long ago and now use instead of thinking, or it’s a knee-jerk emotional response to something in your past. »
« You don’t need to answer. You can say, “I don’t know,” and take your time to answer after thinking. »
Derek Sivers is author of Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur.
In his book Cash Flow Surge, Alastair Thomson has a chapter called “I don’t know.”
“I had a coach called Tony for a while. He taught me the benefits of saying ‘I don’t know…what do you think?’ or ‘I’m not sure I’ve got a strong view one way or the other…how do you see the options?’ whenever one of my team asked me a question. The trick Tony taught me was to say that whether I already knew the answer or not.”
“Asking someone else what they think can open up ideas you might never have considered. Their perspective and experience will be different from yours, so let them take you through the options and make a recommendation rather than just immediately respond with your own perspective.”