• Otto Blac

Maybe They Aren't Stupid. Maybe You Suck at Explanations?



Ever try to explain a simple concept or exercise to someone, and they didn't get it? Did you have to explain it again? Raise your hand if you've heard of the Curse of Knowledge. The rest of you pompous ego-maniacs, listen up.


You may know so much about a subject that you forget where the entry-point is for beginners. Do you have a geeky friend who thinks you'll understand their references, but in reality, they consume too much media?


"Hold on, my friend, back up. What is this a TV show? A podcast? A marvel movie? WTF are you talking about?"


Have I seen an island forming? WTF are you talking about?


One of the first things I expect before someone gives an inadequate explanation is, "it's easy" or "it's simple."


Right, once you understand anything, it becomes simple. Suppose I told you I saw an island forming before my eyes. In that case, you might be suspicious of my statement if you had no previous context or knowledge of underwater volcanic and seismic processes, right? Even if you understood a little, wouldn't it be more helpful if I said: "I saw a massive lava plume deep in the ocean rising to the surface, to form a volcanic island." Insert useful context as much as possible in simple terms.


Reminder Folks: It's Perfectly Okay and Normal to Not Know Everything.


Most people will want to fake it until they make it, but this can harm building the foundation of any skill or science. And don't be a jerk about it; we all start somewhere. Both the student and teacher need to be chill for learning to take place. Otherwise, one person is talking, and the other is missing the finesse while pretending to listen. It also might be helpful to know that when we repeat what we know it reaffirms our knowledge and capabilities.

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