We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know-Itis

This might be another dumb human story. It’s certainly something we all have in common. Maybe it’s even hard-wired into our DNA. The problem is, it can cut us off at the knees without our ever knowing it.

It’s called, “We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know-itis.”

It hurts us because it blocks us from greater possibilities. It keeps us blind to solutions of problems we didn’t know existed. It certifies our ignorance. Some people are aggressively assertive that they know something, when they don’t.

It affects our business in negative ways. It insults the experts. It limits our options.

And there’s no cure — as far as I know. Because we don’t know we’re missing anything. It’s insidious. Cruel. And, it’s not our fault.

Case in point: Figuring I could record my songs by myself at home if only I had the right audio equipment, I purchased Pro Tools, a high quality audio recording software often used in professional music studios. I loaded it into my Mac.

I thought this would be a cost-effective solution. I wanted to be able to get ideas down immediately, especially the choirs of voices or tsunami of strings that often ran through my mind. Thus, like any consumer, I wanted fast and easy. I knew there would be some learning curve, but had confidence I could master it in a short amount of time.

Keep in mind, I’d had NO previous audio recording training. I had produced tracks in sound studios for years, but never touched the audio mixing board. The board (to me) looks like the cockpit of an alien space vessel.

Ha! The Pro Tools screen on my Mac also looked like an alien ship’s dashboard. I was in big trouble.

Enter my friend, Jim Salamone, of Cambridge Sound Studios in South Philly. He’s produced some of the greats: Grover Washington, Jr., Bon Jovi, Teddy Pendergrass, and many more. Jim and his producer/engineer, Todd Mecaughey, have forgotten more about music production than I’ll ever know.

So, I asked Jim and Todd if they would tutor me in the art of Pro Tools sound recording. Bless their hearts, they were so patient with me, but I learned through them that you can’t fly a jet without hundreds of hours of training.

Jim told me this happens a lot in his line of business. People underestimate the huge amount of expertise required to work magic in a recording studio.

People also underestimate how many hours of preparation it takes to do a truly wonderful and inspiring TEDx talk. They underestimate the difficulty of writing a book — a GOOD one. They underestimate the hours of preparation a consultant does before they walk in your door. There are many examples.

I want to live in a world where people concede they don’t know everything, and where they show automatic respect to the professionals and experts who have mastered their crafts.

I welcome you to weigh in and share any experiences you’ve had with people who underestimated the width and breadth of your experience and training.