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The Power of Habits

Lesson 27 of 34

Finding Causes

Art Markman

The Power of Habits

Art Markman

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Lesson Info

27. Finding Causes


  Class Trailer
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1 Dr. Art Plays the Sax Duration:00:57
2 Intro to Your Habits Duration:31:16
3 The Rule of 3 Duration:36:02
4 Taking a Step Back Duration:18:11
5 Habits: Creating & Changing Duration:31:50
6 Understanding Your Habits Duration:39:52
7 The Motivation System Duration:26:39
8 The Arousal System Duration:32:38
9 Commiting to Your Goals Duration:28:15
10 Goal Satisfaction Duration:19:28
11 Abstract to Specific Goals Duration:33:13
12 The Big Picture Goals Duration:27:08
13 Know Yourself Duration:23:43
14 Personality Dimensions Duration:28:27
15 Experiences & Brainstorming Duration:33:50
16 Advanced Personalities Duration:28:35
17 Risk Tolerance & The Workplace Duration:36:16
18 Influence: Use the Environment Duration:35:24
19 Creating Consistent Mapping Duration:24:23
20 Affecting Others Duration:23:55
21 People in Our Environment Duration:28:14
22 Silos Duration:29:01
23 Building a Reef Duration:18:06
24 Approach & Avoidance Goals Duration:25:01
25 Affect vs Emotion Duration:23:57
26 Attribution & Choice Duration:37:10
27 Finding Causes Duration:36:00
28 Learning Causal Knowledge Duration:27:08
29 Reusing Knowledge Duration:25:07
30 Analogy: Problem Solving Duration:33:40
31 The Power of Redescription Duration:25:39
32 Defining the Problem Duration:22:09
33 Tools to Define Problems Duration:26:48
34 Planning a Problem Solution Duration:29:32

Lesson Info

Finding Causes

One of the habits that a lot of us would like to have is we'd like to be more creative, more innovative, and sometimes I think people have this idea that the only way to get more creative, the only way to get more innovative is to be that kind of creative, innovative person, you know, is that, you know, is that just a talent? Is that something I couldn't possibly learn to do? And and obviously they're going to be differences between people, right? Some people really are just gonna nail it every single time they're going to do something innovative, they're going to do something really creative, and you may be the kind of person do you think? Every once in a while, I show those flashes, but I don't always get it, but the thing is, it still is a skill it's something you can get better at, but you gotta practice the right kinds of things. You've got to develop the right kinds of habits and that's really, what this afternoon's about, um, this segment, and then the two segments this afternoo...

n are both going to be about some things that you can do that will make you more creative and more innovative, and we're going to start with the notion of causes. We're going to start by asking the question, what in the world is a cause? Turns out causal information is the is the information about how the world works it's the stuff you used tto answer the question why we're going to use that information, because because causal information, causal knowledge is stuff that we used to do new things and to do things in different ways you can't solve a problem in a new way if you don't know the way the world works, ok? The problem is that the quality of our causal knowledge is actually less good than we think it is going to introduce you to the concept of the illusion of explanatory depth, which is this illusion that we understand things when we don't really understand them, and then we're gonna talk a little bit about how to cure the illusion of explanatory depth by doing something called self explanation. Okay, here we go now the thing about this concept of a cause is that human beings love to ask and answer the question why? So if anybody out there has ever hung out with a a five year old, five year old's favorite question, why? And then you ask, you answer that question and they say, why again? And then you answer that question if they say why again, and then you send him out to play right now the thing about this uh this this ability to ask and answer the question why is that human beings may be the only species on the planet that does this regularly. We know this because if we look at our close cousins the chimpanzees very smart animals chimpanzees don't have bed bath and beyond and that's how we know that they don't have causal knowledge and I probably ought to explain that. Okay? So if you look in the wild there are chimp colonies. They use tools okay? For example, there are wild chimp colonies that will bang rocks on top of nuts that nut opens, they eat what's in the nut and the entire chimp colony they're all sitting around banging rocks on nuts and eating them. Now how does this happen among the chimps? Well, what happens is there's a chimp one day sitting around its hungry it's board it starts banging iraq because that's what chimps do and at some point bang it hits it on top of the not the nut opens it eats the nut it thinks that was a good outcome that involved a rock and not let me keep trying that if banks um rock around the rocks around the nuts maura another nut opens eventually it sort of realizes hit the rock on top of the nut not opens, they eat it another chimp sees that happening thinks that was a really good outcome. I would like that so it tries to steal the nut from the from the first champ on the chimp fights it off successfully, it says, well, that involved iraq let me hit the rock around nuts and it eventually figures out buying the rock on top of the nut that opens eventually you got a whole colony of chimps, they're all banging rocks on top of nuts. They don't really teach each other the way the humans do right human beings constantly teaching each other the chimps don't do that. And the other thing is at no point does it seem that any chimp there asks, I wonder why he's doing that? Oh, I get it he's tryingto open the nut, you know, there there's another way in fact, there's a better way to do it here, let me show you and then they would invent a better way and then a better way and see what happens with humans is that's what we do. We see somebody opening and not we think, you know there's a better way to do that before you know it, we have thirty or forty different ways of opening nuts, then you need to have stores like bed bath and beyond to sell to people okay, that's what we do because we really ask the question, why? Why does this work once you understand the answer to that question you big, you can begin to use that knowledge to help you to solve problems in new ways and the more different ways that you can solve problems, the more opportunities that there are for you to do something innovative for you to do something creative because even in an aesthetic creative pursuit, you are really using your knowledge of of how and why things work the way they do to expand the boundaries of what's possible within your domain of expertise. So whether you're in something that's aesthetic or whether you're trying to solve a practical problem, if you're going to do it in a new way, you really need to understand why the world works the way that it does so human beings are constantly asking the question why answering the question why and that answer to the question why is a cause of something okay? Um now when we have a causal explanation that causal explanation normally involves some set of preconditions that is what must have had to exist in order for this to happen, a set of relationships among those preconditions that leads to a triggering event that causes an event to occur, and then a set of consequences that emerge from that as a result of all of these relationships okay. And all of this information is involved in generating a good explanation. So, for example, um, about four years ago now there was a huge forest fire and bass drop. Texas bass drops about twenty miles east of austin. We'd had a very wet spring, and so a lot of plants grew up in the spring. Then we had a very hot, very dry summer. We went about fifty or sixty straight days without any rain. Very hot. Everything dried out. It died. That created a lot of potential fuel. Then we had a very windy day. And on that very windy day, there was a spark. It was either a campfire or a cigarette. Nobody's. One hundred percent sure, but the common ate the air because it brought oxygen across this very dry fuel. The spark then caught fire and immediately spread all over. And because it was a pine forest, pine forests have lots of tar in the trees. Um, millions of acres of trees went up in flames almost immediately, and it was actually amazing. You could see the smoke from austin, about twenty miles away. Um, the consequences, of course, a devastated forest, the number of houses that were destroyed, and things like that, and so, you know, understanding this kind of of why this sort of thing happens helps to see are there ways of prison preventing this in the future are there things that we could do tow watch out for to make sure that something like this didn't happen again an important element of our explanations is that when we give these causal explanations that's act those explanations are nested inside of each other like little russian dolls what that means is that every time you ask the question why there's always another explanation underneath it that's what allows five year olds to play that game where they keep asking why? Because there's always another explanation okay now notice you can't do that with every question that you might ask every kind of questions so for example if you showed a five year old a ball the five world says what is that you say it's a ball if they then said what is it you'd say it's ah ball and say what is it you'd say what's wrong with you right because there isn't really anything else underneath that but with the question why there's always another explanation so you know we've been hanging out about two and a half days so far in that period of time we've talked a lot about some psychology and when we talk most of the explanations I've given you for why we act the way we do have focused on what we could think of as the psychology level of explanation we've talked about memory and attention and goals and motivation and personality. These air things that have to do with with well, we could think of, is our our minds, our psychology. Now, every once in a while, we recognize that a lot of this is created by the interaction of our brain and our body. And so occasionally I talk about the brain, right? Those couple of boxing gloves with grey matter on the outside, the way the white matter inside. Um, now, if er, underneath what the brain is doing, there are all sorts of other explanations. There are explanations at the level of the underlying neurochemistry neuro transmitters that bind to receptors on the surface of the neurons beneath that there's, even levels of the physics. There are studies ongoing right now about how different genes help the brain to create proteins that may fold in particular ways that make a particular receptor in the brain. Mohr less likely to bind to a particular chemical right. So there's all of these different levels of explanation nested inside of each other, and that route that's part of what makes our causal knowledge so complicated. Now the reason that our explanations are important our, because our ability to it to understand the way the world works, is what enables us to answer questions in new ways. All right um so for example I have no earthly idea how my car works. I sit down in my car in the morning and now I want those cars you know, you press a button we talked about that earlier if you know, so I pressed the button the car goes on and when the car goes on all is right with the world. If I sit down in my car and I press the button and nothing happens, I'm stuck I don't know what to do, right? Or if I sit down and press the button and it makes a funny noise, you know, one time I sat down in my car and the car went and I recognized that that wasn't normal, but I had no idea what was going on. So what did I do? I went to my mechanic and the reason I went to my mechanic is because my mechanic knows why the car does what it does. My mechanic has that causal knowledge pulled the car up to the mechanic mechanic went, oh, yeah that's a bill I don't know what kind of belt there was, some kind of and and uh and the mechanic knew what caused it, how to fix it on dh, how much it would cost to get it repaired, right? And and and then the mechanic took care of that okay, so, you know, we go to people because they have expertise that will enable them to solve problems that were unable to solve. Now, if you think about the nature of the kinds of expertise that people have their our expert generalists out there in the world, people who know a lot about a lot of different things, but those people who know a lot about a lot of different things tend not to have very, very, very deep knowledge about things because there's a trade off, it takes a lot of time to really be able to acquire this kind of causal knowledge, and so if you know a way, a wide range of things, you probably don't have a lot of depth if you know a lot of depth and you don't necessarily know a wide range of things, you see this, for example, in medicine, if you go to your family, doctor, your family doctor can help you if you've got a rash or headaches or if your back is hurting, you know all of these different things, and so you go to your family, doctor, for all these problems, and of course, every once in a while, your family doctor goes which is the technical sound that someone makes when the limits of their expertise has been reached right and in those instances you know so for example you might go to your doctor and you say you know my knees really hurting and you doctor goes uh you should see a specialist and so they send you to a specialist now the specialist is also a doctor but it's a doctor who knows a lot about a particular thing okay? And so you go to that doctor if you walk into that need doctor and you say listen while I'm here I've got a rash there that doctor is yeah it's nice not interested right? Not my not my area but they look at your knee there they're an expert in needs they know what to do right that's the depth of that expertise and just azzan aside in case you're interested the worst sound a specialist can ever make okay? Because the last thing you ever want to do in your life is to play stump the specialist okay it's just a just a little handy dandy added bonus for being in this class. Um now the fundamental question is if these explanations if this ability to explain the way the world works is so fundamental to our ability to answer new questions to do things in innovative and creative ways then it better be the case that our causal knowledge is really good so we need to know how good is your causal knowledge and so what I'm gonna have each of you do those of you who are here is well as those of you who are at home who have downloaded the pdf and I'm not going to go through it again this time you know if you haven't downloaded it now it's not much I can do for you um but on page forty there is a sheet that's labeled constructing explanations and what you're going to do on this sheet is there some common household objects and devices? I want you to take those household objects and devices find one you think you understand and try and explain how it works and you'll take a few minutes to do that and while while we're doing that then uh chris and I'll talk a little bit about some of the questions that have come in yeah now people are still starting to get some questions in about this, but we had some that were still coming in about positive feelings and kind of what we talked about in the last segment this question comes from tantrum and they say can positive feelings ever lead you astray? Where are they pretty reliable usually yeah, so somebody named tendra trump that's you better you better give him a good and yeah, I bet and it better be positive you know, positive feelings are can can certainly lead you astray in the sense that you're, you know, the source of those positive feelings can be things like fluency. So if we think about this idea of fluency, of being able to think about something quickly, I mean, if I go to the store and buy a coca cola because I've been seeing the coca cola logo over and over and it's been, not only have I seen it a lot of times, but it's been associated with all those cute polar bears in my buying coca cola, because deep down that's the thing I really want that the thing that's best for me or his coca cola's simply made my positive feelings so overwhelming that it's hard for me to overcome them, and I would say that in those situations, coca cola has probably had a pretty big influence on my behavior in that situation, so I think positive feelings if the source of those positive feelings is something that isn't necessarily a great, um isn't necessarily ah, reflective of, really how much I like the thing that even positive feelings can lead us astray and create. Now some people in the chat room, we're looking to dive deeper into some of the stuff that we've been talking about here, this question comes from a new va, and they were wondering if you had any book recommendations or additional sources for people to help deconstruct the storytelling aspect that we were just looking at because we have a lot of people who who are storytellers, we have bloggers, we have people who work in their own business trying to tell a story of their business and they were wondering if you had any additional resource is for something like that. Um, you know, there's been a lot. I mean, one of the nice things now is that there's a lot of great content on the blog's out there so there's certainly a lot of wonderful books on, you know, on related teo topics in psychology, but but one of the things that I recommend to start with is, you know, because if you're going to invest a lot of time in reading a book, you really want to make sure that the person who is writing that book actually speaks to you. Yeah and there's a great way of doing that now, which is, is to look at the at the blogger sphere, right there's a lot of wonderful bloggers on psychology today on scientific american mind on a number of other science based sites where where they can actually give you a little bit of content and give you some sense of whether their voices one that's going to speak to you and then look into some of the writing what they've done and that's really where I would go for a lot of this kind of content if I'm if I'm interested in reading, uh, in more depth on any of these topics, great. All right? Uh, we actually just had another one come in. This is more of a general question that we may have some more tips on this later, but art so wants to know, how does one improve their self confidence? Self confidence? Yeah, that's a really good one, you know, self confidence emerges from a few different places. One of the big ones is that it is related to this concept of self compassion that we talked about on the first day, because if you ask yourself, where does a lack of self confidence come from? It comes from two places. One is a belief that I may not be able to achieve the things that I set out to achieve, and the other is the belief that there are going to be some really bad consequences for failing to achieve something that I'm hoping to achieve. Now, how do you learn that in fact, you are able to get stuff done in the world that you do have what's called self efficacy? And also how do you learn that the negative consequences of failing things aren't necessarily so bad? Right? Those are the two things you need to build up your self confidence confidence and the best way to do that is tohave self compassion because when you have that self compassion you try things you learn that some number of the things you try or actually things you succeeded doing and you also learn that when you fail that actually those failures aren't devastating the world doesn't fall apart when you when you've done something wrong and in fact by failing and understanding why you failed you actually do it better the next time and that's really what it is that makes people more self confident and just just to give you a story about this I mean I always feel like, you know, I get up and I give a class like this and and and and I think you know, you probably see this with a lot of the instructors thatyou have you got, you know, a great lineup of talks here creative live you get speakers have come up, they've they've had a lot of experience at at speaking and so they get up and they speak as if you know, this was really easy to do and what none of us ever see when we watch one of these kinds of classes is how much work went in on the back end to make these things happen in the first place how much time people spent preparing presentations giving presentations in the past and things like that and so you think, wow, I could never do that and what you really mean is I probably couldn't do that right now if I was just asked spontaneously to get up and do that, but that doesn't mean that with the same degree of work and the number of failures that each of us go through and all of those other problems that you couldn't get up and do it. And I think that when you realize that almost everyone who gets up and does anything that's it all fluent has screwed up a huge number of times and was definitely nervous the first few times that they did something and, you know, panicked and all of those things when you realize that actually everyone goes through that, then you realize a lot of your reactions to things are actually quite normal and that you just have to you just have to do it. I mean, nike was onto something right when they said that, you know, just do it. I mean, not that I'm pitching I could hear, but but we we we really you know, you really have to try stuff, be willing to fail and then learn from those failures, and you do that in the self confidence follows from that, all right, all right, so, um so while we were talking about this, we had a lot of people who were trying to explain the way things work in the world. Um so uh so let me just ask a quick question how many of you felt really awesome about the explanation you just gave for whatever you gave how many people feel like it didn't go so well all right, so so share sherry experience what what what did you what did you write about? So any of those expertise force the problem around? I don't know specific name for little details let's choose a zipper yeah, so I starting and I don't know even how called this little piece that actually you know and I'm thinking and even in my language you just have no idea what name of the little piece right? So then it's okay you'll take the little piece then you contact the plastic and again I know now that I don't know how in fashion industry all those correctly are called so for example say ok, the zipper has those metal or plastic and I'm like, what two? So yeah right, right so you don't have the words for it and then and then even after you think about it, you're not use you like how it gets together something easy to show so you think this is how it works but what it's doing? I don't know which is why I can never fix these things when they break um yeah, I think that's absolutely right. You know it's funny what you just did is a version of an experiment that got done by a guy named frank kyle who's on the faculty at yale and he actually did on experiment with the yale university undergraduates he brought him into the lab and he showed him these objects he said okay, which ones do you think you understand? Okay, here's one that you think you understand go ahead and explain it and what he found was systematically people were unable to explain things that they thought they understood and this is this is interesting. This is what's called the illusion of explanatory depth it's an illusion because I believe I understand it but I don't actually understand it now I must admit when I first saw that experiment I thought, wow, this is really cool but I'm not sure I believe it because this was done with yale university undergrads quite frankly, what do they know? So I tried this myself. I look down the list and one of the things I came on was the flush toilet. Did any of you try the flush toilet? I did the flush toilet so here's my explanation of the flush toilet okay there's a handle handles got a lever on it that levers connect into a chain that chain goes down to a valve so that when you press the handle the lever goes up pulls up the vow the valve opens the water starts to go down there's a ball that's on top of water it starts to go down that opens a switch that brings water in from the outside the water starts to pour into the tank when the water level gets to the bottom of the tank that valve closes you know for some reason and then that water starts to rise up a little bit and it float the ball floats back up on it that shuts off the flow of water that water leaves the tank and it goes somewhere but it gets into the bowl and then it swishes around the bowl and then it goes away only not all of it goes away some of it you know stays behind for some reason yeah I don't I didn't really understand how it's toilet works now you might say to yourself well you know what's the problem in a fundamental way I guess it's not that much of a problem that I don't know how a toilet works I'm not usually called upon to fix it but the fundamental problem is I didn't know that I didn't know all right the real problem with the illusion of explanatory depth is not the gaps in your knowledge per se we all have things we don't know about the problem is if I believe I know something and don't actually know something that I have no opportunity to learn it before I might need it so it's the calibration of your knowledge that's the really important part we are mis calibrated now the interesting thing is we are miss calibrated about causal knowledge but not about every kind of knowledge that we have so for example were not miss calibrated for lots of facts if I asked you I don't want to know the answer, but how many of you here, how many of you out there know the address of the white house? Yes, I know the address the white house no, no clue the address of the white house I sort of know the address the way. Okay, well, you're probably pretty well calibrated, right? If you know the address of the white house, you've got it right. Sixteen hundred pennsylvania avenue, washington d c I don't know this it actually, but you know, if you don't know the address the white house you like, really? That was it cool? And if you sort of know the address of the white house than that sounded kind of familiar all right it's also true for more complicated things like plots of movies, how many of you know the plot of the movie finding nemo? Anybody finding nemo no idea finding nemo sort of know finding nemo. Okay, if you know the plot of finding nemo, you can get all the way from the e leading the eggs to touching the butt to the east australian current to the dentist's office if you have no idea what the plot of finding nemo is, you're like, okay, don't worry. I didn't ruin it if you sort of know the plot of finding nemo nemo you're like, yeah, I think some of that sounded kind of familiar. So you're pretty well calibrated for things like plots. You're just really bad at things like causal knowledge. Now why is that? Why are we bad? A causal knowledge? There are actually two big reasons for this. The first is remember I told you that explanations air nested inside of each other like these little dolls. The problem is, ask yourself, how do I know whether I know something or not? Well, what I do is I asked myself, can I get started? Can I get started giving the explanation? And then you feel like if I could get started, I can probably get all the way through. Unfortunately, just being able to get started means you could get that first level of the explanation, but not necessarily any of this stuff underneath. And so as you dig down, which you need to do when you really want to understand something you realize you know what there's nothing underneath this there's a first layer and then there's nothing underneath that and so that's one part of the problem and of course that's the reason why you eventually send that five year old out to play when they keep asking why? Because after about the second or third, why question you don't know the answer anymore and so you just say get out here go, you know, go do something else, okay? So that's the first thing the second reason why we have trouble with our causal knowledge is because we have words whose meanings we don't understand and those words paper over the gaps in our knowledge and in business we sometimes call those buzzwords, right? You know, it's a word everybody uses nobody really understands, but we have these words all over the place. So for example, when I discovered that I don't know how a flush toilet works, I didn't actually stop there I actually googled it and through the magic of wikipedia I learned how I learned how the flush toilet works and it turns out so this is interesting it turns out that that after the drain of the toilet there's ah there's a pipe that has a loop in it and that loop acts is a siphon sucks out the stuff that's in the toilet on dh then the water level rises back up to approximately the level to the height of that loop that's in the pot and so, you know, I read that and for a couple of weeks afterwards I felt mighty good I was walking around with some degree of pride saying, you know what? I get it it's a siphon and then I realized I don't really know how a siphon works, right? I don't understand siphons and so I then had to go look up siphons and actually it turns out, as an aside physicists are a little bit split. There are two different explanations for how siphons working physicists are arguing about them a little bit, so I don't feel too bad, right? But but but but we had this word and I didn't quite understand it now it turns out that we do this sort of thing all the time, okay? Um uh we do this in business, we do this and customer service one of my favorite stories comes from this, so I was a graduate student, university of illinois in champaner ban on my first my first job after graduate school was actually at northwestern university just just outside of chicago, so I moved out of my apartment in champaner, bana and and you know, when you when you rent an apartment you know you pay a security deposit that that one month's rent case you either abscond with your life without paying your last bill or you trashed the place and I had done neither right? So I moved up to chicago and I needed the money because this was an era of my life in which I was eating a lot of rahman I was kind of looking forward to some actual protein and my diet so so I called the apartment complex and I said and I know the receptionist answered the fun I said, listen, I moved out of this apartment about a month ago and I am got my security deposit back yet and she said, okay, please hold and I listen to some lovely hold music probably some saxophone and um and and then she got back on the line and she said, yeah, I just spoke to the manager and the manager said you'll get your security deposit back as soon as your apartment has been released I said, yeah it's nice what does that mean? And she said, please hold right so notice she gave me an explanation that she herself did not understand okay, this word you're apart frays your apartment has been released had no meaning to her and she simply passed it along either assuming that that would be good enough for me or that I would somehow understand something about her industry that she didn't understand um and by the way, just so I feel in this this gap in your knowledge it turns out that your apartment has been released means you will get your security deposit back about a week after you called to complain you're um so what have we got so far? What we've got is this idea that we have these gaps in our knowledge in our causal knowledge that these gaps are a problem because if I don't understand the way something works, I can't solve any new problems using that knowledge and that the that the fundamental problem is not just that I have gaps but that I am unaware of those gaps, you know, I know donald rumsfeld got himself in trouble several years ago for talking about known unknowns and unknown unknowns and he didn't necessarily say it in the most felicitous way, but in fact part of what he was talking about is that there is a danger with not knowing what you don't know and that it's very important to become better calibrated at what you know rather, you know and then you can make a decision once you're calibrated do I know this or not? Then you can make the decision? Is this something I actually want to learn or not it's uh it's a two step process so how in the world do you get better calibrated at your knowledge how does that work? Well, what you want to do is you want to take a lesson from education so how many of you have ever had to teach something to someone else right when you teach something to someone else that is when you really learn it okay there's a there's a reason why in medical school they you know they say you know you see one you do one teach one because in the process of having to teach something to someone that's when you identify all the parts of it that you don't really understand and then fill those gaps in order to be able to teach it to someone else so for example is a phd advisor I have graduate students who come they work with me and many of them go off and become faculty at other universities and of course they're getting their faculty jobs because they got good at doing research and then suddenly in addition to doing research they're gonna have to teach for a living. And so I give them a little bit of wisdom about teaching and one of the things that I tell them on their way out is remember that when you teach a course for the first time you're going to spend approximately seven hours to prepare each hour of lecture that you give and nobody believes me they are they're like all please I have a phd now I know everything but in fact I usually get a phone call about october november of somebody's first semester teaching tears uh you know over there because they've realized in fact they're spending every waking moment just preparing the lectures that they have to give because it turns out that as they go through the process of trying to prepare a lecture trying to go get ready to teach some piece of information in a domain in which they already have a lot of expertise there's a huge number of things they don't understand well enough to explain to someone else and that very first time that they teach not only don't they really understand it that well they are praying desperately that nobody asks any questions because they have their basically teaching you something that lies at the very limits of what they're able to explain to you and as soon as soon as you ask a question to that new faculty member at all crumbles and falls apart it takes years to really know to fill in enough of those gaps that you're comfortable answering questions for people in addition to just giving uh what seems like a pretty reasonable explanation you take the advice to fake it till you make it um yeah why people ask me questions so um you know I guess the thing is this um we need to really change a little bit about the way that we deal with gaps in people's knowledge, okay, so we have to recognize that people are goingto have gaps in their knowledge and sometimes gaps in their knowledge that they're unaware of one of the reasons we tell people now to fake it until you make it is because we believe that it's a sign of weakness for someone to demonstrate that there's a gap in their knowledge that they were unaware of before and this is a particular problem in organizations. So, you know, if you tell somebody on a job interview, you might not necessarily want to demonstrate all of the limits of your of your expertise, you know, I could I could make an argument why that's either a good thing or a bad thing to do? But once you're already working for a place, I think it's better for an entire organization to become calibrated about what they do and don't know. And so I'm actually a believer that when somebody hits a question, you don't know the answer to that. What you should say to them is that's a great question, and I don't know, but I'm going to get back to you by friday or by monday, or whatever it is, and I will have the answer for you. And there's two reasons for wanting to do that the first is that by admitting that you don't know something, it creates that impetus that forced tto actually fill the gap, and the other reason is it alerts everyone else. This is a hole in the knowledge in the organization that we may need to fill. We have to make sure that this person fills it and the rest of us, philip, because we don't wanna have this gap in our knowledge because these gaps can really become persistent, if you could sometimes people fake it permanently then, and they never make it, um, for example, consider the financial industry. So if you think about what happened in two thousand seven with the financial collapse, there were a lot of products that were being sold that very few people understood. And if you read books like the big short michael lewis's book, one of the things that becomes clear is that almost no one in the industry really understood what was going on understood the implication of lots of loans being written to people who couldn't afford them. These weird financial instruments being created from the dregs of other investments, nobody you know, the people who created these, these credit default swaps, the insurance policies on they didn't understand what they were selling or what the risks were, there was a lot of gaps in the in people's calls all knowledge and essentially those few people who figured out what was going on in the industry made a killing um in both in a figurative in a literal sense, right? I mean, they made a tremendous amount of money, but they killed off in industry, right? And I think it would have been valuable if more people had stood up I'd say you know, I said, you know what? I'm not actually sure how this works and maybe I ought to understand it I think that might have been a healthier thing, but I think people faked it and then said, you know what? I'm making money, so I'm faking it and I'm making cash on that's good enough for me, and I think that if we become a little bit better calibrated at our knowledge, we will have healthier organizations, we will have more innovative and more stable organizations um but that requires an orientation that says, you know what? It's okay to admit when you don't know something once, but if it's something that falls in your domain of expertise if it's something you should be accountable for after that first time, you'd better know it all right? And I think if we do that, if we create that more honest approach to our knowledge, we make entire organization smarter and more effective

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available here as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers. 

Setting a goal is one thing, but actually doing the work to achieve that goal is a totally different endeavor. If you want to hit your targets and make lasting changes in your life, join author and psychologist Art Markman, Ph.D., to learn what it takes to build and maintain healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

This course won’t serve up superficial self-help tips; instead, you’ll dive into the latest cognitive science behind behavior change. You’ll learn how to build new, positive habits and break the cycle of existing negative ones. You’ll explore what it takes to sustain healthy habits over time and increase your chances of maintaining new habits by empowering your friends and family to make positive changes, too.

Don’t waste another day simply wishing you could make a change that really sticks — equip yourself with the techniques you need to transform your life in measurable, powerful, and positive ways.


Tanya Johnston

Fantastic! I'm loving this course and am so grateful to have the opportunity to listen to Art's great insight on behavior and ways to tweak it. Thank you, really awesome.


Wow. Very engaging, entertaining, and enlightening. Art Markman is so much fun to watch and listen to during the entire 3 day class. His brain dump has zero fluff. The concentration of so much information is incredible, and how he gets it into your head is mind boggling. He's whipped my brains into a spongy soufflé. I am so happy I discovered this class. Thank you!