The Importance of Recognizing Your Own Knowledge: How to Avoid Underestimating Your Own Knowledge

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone only to discover that they have a completely different understanding of a subject than you do? Perhaps you assumed everyone knew something because it seemed obvious to you, only to be confronted with a puzzled or blank expression. Perhaps you’ve been frightened by someone else’s mastery in a subject, believing that you’ll never match up.

You’re not alone if any of this sounds familiar. It’s natural to believe that our own knowledge is “common sense” or that everyone else understands the same things we do. However, because we all have distinct origins, experiences, and interests, our knowledge bases are all unique.

So, how do we avoid undervaluing our own knowledge and falling into the trap of believing that it is what everyone else knows? Here are a few pointers:

  • Keep in mind that everyone has unique areas of competence. Just because someone else is an expert in one area does not indicate they are an expert in all areas. It is critical to acknowledge and appreciate the knowledge of others while simultaneously recognizing and respecting your own knowledge.


  • If you don’t know anything, don’t be scared to admit it. It’s fine not to have all the answers! In fact, acknowledging when you don’t know something can be a sign of strength because it indicates you’re willing to learn and seek fresh information.


  • Be willing to learn from others. We can always learn something from others, whether they are a friend, a coworker, or a stranger. Don’t be hesitant to ask questions and learn new things, especially if they are outside of your comfort zone.


  • Don’t undervalue the importance of your personal experiences and perspectives. Someone else’s more formal education or training in a particular field does not necessarily imply that they have more valuable thoughts or experiences. Your personal life experiences and perspectives can provide a unique and valuable perspective.


  • Celebrate your own expertise and achievements. It’s tempting to focus on what we don’t know, but it’s equally crucial to appreciate and recognize what we do know, as well as our progress in learning and growing.

Finally, it is critical not to underestimate our expertise and think that it is what everyone else knows. Recognizing and appreciating our own knowledge while remaining open to learning from others can help us continue to grow and broaden our awareness of the world around us.