Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Saying: "I Don't know"

Sorry, I Don’t Know

Runesoup has an excellent article about giving magical advice. My experience to date has fortunately been more along the lines of people asking me where they can find out more about particular topics, rather than giving advice on how to overcome a particular problem.

One example of people asking me for further information is: are there any links between creating a zombie and building a golem. That question still has me stumped but having re-read some parts of Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis’s excellent book: Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic and Mysticism – I may have found another source to research this topic further.

A little knowledge

The reason for this particular example is that my standard response is: “I don’t know”. Most people are familiar with the expression: ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’. I’d like to amend that expression with regards to giving magical advice (and advice in general) to: ‘a little knowledge as the basis for giving advice is a dangerous thing’.

I’m not trying to belittle anyone, there are plenty of people that I have regular interaction with whose knowledge and experience dwarfs mine. Literally I feel an inch tall next to these people and at best I’m in the category of a donkey carrying books – i.e. having sufficient knowledge to refer to sources, but that’s it.


So if giving advice on what actions to take is not something to be promoted, how should one help when asked for advice? My answer is to provide people with the tools that they need to figure it out for themselves. This is in part my motivation for posting articles on how project management knowledge and skills can help with magical work and development.

The tools themselves are a very broad subject that ranges from “good practices from lessons learned”, to structured techniques such as risk analysis and work breakdown structures, all the way to soft skills of people management and emotional intelligence. Asking for help is a sign of professional maturity in my line of work, it demonstrates a desire to learn and improve and be able to work it out for one’s self in future.

Lesson Learnt: giving advice can be detrimental. Help someone with continuous learning and development so that they can learn figure it out for themselves.