Knowing and understanding

Now and then, I stumble upon a conversation that will some say, “yeah, I know what it’s like…” The remark sticks out like a sore thumb because, more often than not, they know things superficially and do not understand the intricacies of the topic in discussion.

And that’s true even in cases when people have been “into something for years.” They might have acquired the skill and expertise required to know a particular industry, let’s say advertising. Still, they might not know the psychological process that requires the copywriters and designers to think, to conceptualize the message or the outcome.

So, an account director’s (or the client’s) opinion on an ad copy doesn’t hold any ground when the copywriting team has been at it since the project briefing. Sure, they can get the copy changed, but that’s has nothing to do with their knowledge or understanding of advertising.

Know that understanding goes a level deeper than knowing (no pun intended, believe me!). The latter is processed in the mind while the former is processed in the brain, which means understanding something takes longer. That’s why 99% of Udemy courses don’t work — they only give you superficial knowledge about a topic without letting you explore in-depth the processes and the challenges one may run into while executing a strategy.

Suppose you’re a leader or a manager. In that case, the onus is onto you to acknowledge that knowing isn’t enough and that the experts (the ones who genuinely understand) are better positioned to share meaningful context that might change the game for you. But you’ve got to have the courage, humility, and discipline to be the student in the room.

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