Imagine if you will that you are playing a game of Trivial Pursuit, or some other sort of board game where each player takes turns asking another player questions. You’re all on the same basic level of intellect and consider yourself fairly knowledgeable. Your opponent who happens to be a friend of a friend, asks you to name two of the characters on the Brady Bunch. For the life of you, it’s not coming to mind but you know the answer! Argh! So frustrating right? Well, while you are struggling to pick through your memory bank possibly influenced by alcohol, the one with the card (and answers of course) might start poking fun or signals some clues as if it was the easiest thing to remember.
Of course they find it easy to prompt you with seemingly easy answers because they have knowledge that you don’t. Without them really putting effort into it, their attitude makes a change from ‘average joe’ to someone who has an ounce of leverage over you because you can’t figure it out. There might be a slight air of confidence or cockiness that they otherwise don’t exhibit.
Until of course, it’s your turn to ask the question. You go from perpetually baffled to being ‘lord of the trivia’, even if for the few moments of game play.
Deny it if you will, but this concept of human interaction is evident in games such as Monopoly, Risk, Battleship and even Poker to a certain degree. It’s something that happens every day as well in business, relationships, rivalries, education…
Knowledge alone is not power. Having knowledge that someone else doesn’t have is true power. At least in this sad state of affairs that our civilization is in.
I’ve had issue with people feeling privy to information and not sharing it as necessary. It’s a guilty pleasure for sure, to know that you have the upper hand on someone else because you hold certain information. It was extremely apparent in the military. Standing out from the crowd with your secretly guarded knowledge invited more consideration for promotion, leeway or even quid pro quo. (squid pro row for you movie buffs).
A magician has the ability to entertain people because of a rightfully protected knowledge of illusions. The benefit for them to keep it a secret is obvious. If they shared all the secrets, what fun would it be and for the greedy kind, how would they make any more money?
So if you know something, what does it benefit you for keeping it a secret? Blackmail? Leverage? Something to talk about? Self-Preservation? Unless it’s something any reasonable person would want held in confidentiality, there is truly no benefit to hoarding such power.
People are scared if they share too much. They are scared of losing any hope of unique identity because of the mysterious cloak they surround themselves with. It’s all bullshit.
When you expose these trivial attributes about something you know or feel, something amazing happens. You ready for it? … No One Cares. By communicating openly about more things, room is made for even better things. This applies to professional as well as personal affairs. To become more open an honest about things, brings a greater quality to your character. In business, just because you share a grand new business idea or strategy doesn’t mean it’s compromised. If you were so damn good in the first place, it wouldn’t matter because you can do it ten times better than the other guy anyways. Right? It may piss some people off or it may create distance in relationships you’ve had. Truth of the matter is, those people are probably no good for you anyways. Time to move along. Should I put that in one of those cute Facebook motivational pictures to get my point across?