The curse of blindness and knowledge

The curse of blindness and knowledge

As an average guy trying to win in the industry of high intellectual people, I often look into my learning process and habits. It is a tough job. I have to be critical of my mistakes and push myself when I am not doing anything. During this study on myself, I have also noticed same behaviour in my friends, colleagues, neighbours, family and mentees.

Some of the most significant behaviours I have noticed are in the people trying to do something that requires some level of intellect. These behaviours can be blamed to two common problems ie. lack of knowledge and having too much knowledge.

To understand it better, I call these two, the curse of blindness and the curse of knowledge. This is not some superstition or anything. I just call them this way as it helps me imagine things better. So what are these curse and how they affect our cognitive strength?

The curse of blindness

When a person tries to do something that requires some thinking without any prior or incomplete knowledge, they suffer from the curse of blindness. Blindness in the sense, that the person cannot comprehend the vastness of the topic, the amount of effort required and the time it can take. This leads to frustration, feeling of being stuck, can't do thinking and finally procrastination. If you are procrastinating chances are you are suffering from the curse of blindness. So stop for a while and try to learn about that topic you are trying to put your brain on. Maybe gather some data and try to figure out how to tackle the problem.

The curse of knowledge

When a person tries to do something that requires less amount of thinking but the person has more experience with a similar topic or the person thinks they have enough knowledge. In this case, the person might try to assume things and many times, assumption might not be true. To overcome this curse, one should not depend on their intuitions. Instead, make protocols to follow in any case. Those protocols or set of rules must always be followed even if the results go against your previous experience or the results don't make much sense.


You might have noticed that the curse of blindness is cured by learning more while the curse of knowledge is cured by turning a blind eye to your experience. This is because they are reciprocative to each other and you need to have a balance. To give you a rough idea, best is to have a 70:30 of ratio or maybe 80:20 depending on what you are trying to accomplish. In my opinion, a ratio of 70:30 works well in finding bugs while in programming, ratio of 90:10 is good. Now if you are trying to do both like me, I would say have a balance of 80:20.

To balance the curse, you need something to divide in the ratios. There can be many things, maybe you can skip a few chapters in a book or maybe you can divide the time. I am not really sure how to accomplish this to be honest. I am on the same boat as you. I try to skim books. It helps me in keeping a balance but not always. All the best finding your balance.