Here’s a simple story, based on which you need to answer 4 simple questions.

A little girl named Mary goes to the beach with her mother and brother. They drive in a red car. At the beach, they swim, east some ice cream, play in the sand and have sandwiches for lunch.

Now the questions:

  1. What colour was the car?
  2. Did they have fish and chips for lunch?
  3. Did they listen to music in the car?
  4. Did they drink lemonade with lunch?

Let’s compare your answers with those of British school children, aged 5 to 9, who were given this quiz by academic researchers. Most children got the first two answers right. But the children didn’t do the last two questions that well. It’s true that no information is available to answer the last two questions, yet a whopping 76% of the children answered the last two questions in a yes or no.

Kids who try to bluff their way through a simple quiz like this are on the right track for careers in business & politics, where almost no-one admits to not knowing anything!

It is a fact that in India, we follow the same rule. Every question has an answer – whether right or wrong. Before Google Maps, driving on Delhi roads used to be tough. Ask any passer-by the way to a place, you would receive an elaborate reply, only to discover later the mistake you made by asking.

We encourage our children also take a shot at answering fact based questions even when we know that they don’t know the answer. In the corporate world, we encourage high performers to take on managerial roles, not knowing if he/she has managerial skills. We tell them you will learn on the job. Every manager is expected to hire for his team, not knowing if he knows how to hire and whom to hire.

It has long been said that the three hardest words in English language are “I love you”. Well, I disagree – It is much harder to say, “I don’t know”. Our world, our perspective changes the moment we say these three words “I don’t know”. That’s when we start looking at things from a fresh perspective, uncoloured by our beliefs, our bias and our so called “facts”.

Here’s an invitation for you. Next time, you don’t know something, don’t pretend you know. Make sure you know before answering else admit “I don’t know”.

Well, before signing off, here’s what we know – assessments and trainings that improve employee productivity. If you want to try out our game based assessments (app/ computer based), technical assessments, psychometrics or trainings, do write to me –