The curse of knowledge – what is it and how do you free yourself from It?

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You’ve probably heard the phrase “to put a curse on someone” more than once in your life. There is a curse that no one puts, but which falls on a person like a bolt from the blues. It can affect anyone, even those who don’t believe in magic and superstition. It weighs on the wise, educated and well-read people, who have a lot to say, above all. We’re talking about the curse of knowledge, which poses a real threat to communication and interpersonal relationships.

The ‘curse of knowledge’ – what is it?

The human brain is a powerful tool that works in a rather complicated way and likes to play tricks. One of them is the inability to put yourself in another person’s shoes and imagine how their brain works.




One could say that the curse of knowledge is the difficulty in imagining what it would be like not to know something that we ourselves know.

If a smart person learns something, his/her brain behaves as if the acquired knowledge was obvious to it and had always had it. Therefore, in our subconscious, we often assume that since a given concept is perfectly familiar to us, everyone around us understands it too. As a result, we operate freely with them, without being aware that the person we are talking to has no idea what we are talking about.

The curse of knowledge and marketing

Understanding how the curse of knowledge works and consciously fighting it is particularly important wherever communication plays a key role. One of the industries whose representatives are more likely than others to be affected by the curse of knowledge is marketing, and as we know, it is used in every business.

Every entrepreneur should want to reach their prospects with their message and show them the real value of what they are talking about or what they have to offer.

But even being aware of this, it is easy to make certain mistakes in this area, especially when you have been “in” a given industry for years and are saturated with industry vocabulary.

You need to know that using industry slang, on the one hand, shows a high level of knowledge of the subject, but on the other hand, for people who are not familiar with it, you are incomprehensible. People are naturally afraid of things they do not understand, so after reading a text saturated with such words, they will run away in fear, even though the purpose of the content is not to scare people away.

The curse of knowledge is a threat to business

The basic task of every company is sales. A customer interested in buying a product or using a service may already know a little about it, but they do not have to. Therefore, assuming the second option, you can lose a lot. Even if you thought the curse of knowledge wasn’t anything serious, you’ll quickly change your mind when you learn what consequences it can entail.

Why is the curse of knowledge dangerous?

If the target group doesn’t understand the information they’re being fed, they simply won’t appreciate the value of the offer and will approach it with a great deal of reluctance. This, in turn, will cause interest in the product or service to drop – fewer people will decide to patronize the offer.


But that’s not all. Lack of understanding of the content can also translate into opinions, which can deteriorate. All of this will affect the company’s image, and after all, every entrepreneur wants it to be the best it can be.

How to remove the curse of knowledge?

Do you suspect that the curse of knowledge is affecting you? The good news is that there is a panacea for it that works for everyone and brings great results. Unfortunately, this problem is chronic and recurring, so even if you get rid of it, you have to stay vigilant and react when necessary.

First, you need to know that it is not easy to free yourself from the curse of knowledge, but you have to do it to improve your sales. So try to put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes and see through their eyes what you have been looking at with yours so far.

Remember what it was like not to know anything about the industry you operate in and try to address your audience in the same way you would want specialists and experts in that field to address you.

Avoid industry jargon, and mental shortcuts, and instead use everyday words and try to describe everything as simply as you can. For better understanding, provide examples, illustrate situations, tell stories, and use comparisons.

And before publishing, be sure to have someone who is not an expert in your field read your text. Listen to their comments and take them into account, if necessary, make any corrections they recommend. In this way, you will increase the chances that you will be well understood by those you are addressing.


  1. The curse of knowledge is the inability to imagine what it would be like not to know something that we ourselves know.
  2. Such a state has a negative impact on the effectiveness of marketing activities and more.
  3. If the target group does not understand the message through the industry vocabulary contained in it, then they will simply not appreciate the value of the offer and will not make a purchase.

Lordson Okpetu

I'm many things rolled into one; I'm an ex-journalist, a content strategist, digital marketer and 'rockstar' direct response copywriter. I've written tons of copies to sell thousands of products and services across diverse industries in Nigeria. In my occasional spare time, I play chess or spend time with my family. I am the Chief Operating Officer of Content Writer, Nigeria.

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