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“Know-It-All” or Know Enough

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If you're like me, you can often suffer from health information overload. We both want to make positive choices about our health. However, one Google search can explode into a plethora of passionate predictions from doctors, health researchers, naturopaths and snake-oil salesmen leaving you with a mountain of “irrefutable” yet often contradictory advice. Never mind the TV health pundits, alarmist magazine stories, forwarded emails and the latest cure-all from your family's “health-nut”.

Sigh.

It's like trying to drink from a fire hose on full blast.

What to do? How do you satiate your thirst for quality health info without getting drowned in the process?

The truth is you can know enough to make healthy choices. You don't have to be a “Know-It-All” and drink it all. Just become a “Know-Enough” and filter the fire hose so you can drink enough to slake your thirst.

A “Know-Enough” type of person filters constantly and acts as soon as they have sufficient, trustworthy information.  They filter for action.

My filter uses three simple questions:

  1. Know What?
  2. So What?
  3. Now What?

These filter questions help me act in one of three ways on any new health information:

  1. Forget it
  2. File it
  3. Follow it

I'll give an overview of this process below and we'll explore each of the three questions in future blog posts.

KNOW WHAT?

This first question is all about what you need to know. “Know-It-All’s” often take any health information source as equally valid and get quickly overwhelmed. “Know-Enough’s” constantly filter health information and only act on what they trust. This often requires looking at not just the facts, but how you and others interpret those facts and if you can trust that interpretation.

“Know-It-All’s” try to know everything. “Know-Enough’s” try to know what is trustworthy.

SO WHAT?

This question is all about relevance. You've determined the trustworthiness of some new health information…but so what? How might it apply to your life? You can't apply every new health finding, try every fad diet or every new exercise regime. This requires knowing your health goals and using trusted information to achieve them.

“Know-It-All’s” try to fit everything for use. “Know-Enough’s” only use what actually fits.

NOW WHAT?

Answering the questions of Know What? (trusted sources) and So What? (personal relevance) will naturally lead to answering Now What? This is the action stage, where you can choose to:

  1. Forget what's untrustworthy or irrelevant.
  2. File what's preliminary or possible.
  3. Follow what's trusted and relevant.

Know-It-All's” will learn it all before they act, but “Know-Enoughs” will learn enough to act.

So start filtering your fire hose and take courage from a fellow “Know-Enough” person, writer and theologian Alden Thompson. He says:

“If we know that we don't have to know everything, then the things that we can know, we can know with greater certainty.” (from the book “Beyond Common Ground”)

Author

Brian is a health writer and researcher from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He graduated from the University of Alberta with a Master's in Public Health, Health Promotion.