< Back to all Tips< Back to all Better Together Community Events< Back to all Self Improvement Sit Down Interviews
April 30, 2024

Being A 'Know It All'

Listen Now:

One of the expressions many of us learned in class growing up is to “not be a know-it-all”.

A ‘know-it-all’ is someone who has an answer to every question and a comment on every topic. While it’s hard to articulate, there’s a clear difference between being smart and contributing to conversation, and being smart for the sake of sounding smart. ‘Know-it-alls’ are the latter.

A ‘know-it-all’ brings a certain energy to every conversation they’re in. It’s an energy of entitlement and superiority that makes other people feel diminished. The reason I know this is because I am a recovering ‘know-it-all’ myself, and having personal experience with it I know the real forces that drive the behavior.

Being a ‘know-it-all’ is truly an expression of the ego. The ego desperately wants to feel unique, different, and special. It wants to reinforce our sense of worth and value. That’s why I found myself inappropriately inserting my knowledge, and being overly occupied with coming off as smart, as a way of protecting myself from my insecurities.

Interestingly, one of my pet peeves is when people make something about them that is clearly not. I believe that’s because I am projecting from all of the times when I’ve been so focused on coming off as smart rather than really being present in conversation and serving the moment. 

Having said that, it’s still critical that we are abundant with our knowledge and share relevant insights that can be helpful...

So where’s the line? 

It’s all about the intention for sharing. When you contribute something for the purposes of adding value, then it’s authentic. When that’s the case, what naturally happens is we share things that are appropriate for the context. But when a bit of information doesn’t seem to fit the needs of the circumstances, or seems to be motivated by other reasons, that’s why it gets flagged as misguided.  

To have a clear way to know and practice the difference, let me remind you of Steven Covey’s 5th Habit of Highly Effective People - Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Don’t participate in a conversation simply to have something to say back. Come from a place of service, contributing what feels right and is done for the right reasons.

More Like This

Learn More!
Subscribe For Daily Emails!
Send Me The Fundamentals!