Common knowledge is only common once it is knowledge

water_slideI had a fun day yesterday at an indoor splash pool with my daughters.  They have a really fun slide there, the tube kind that twists outside of the building that you can get some great speed going when you use. When my older daughter came out she wasn’t zooming along though, she was sitting up and going pretty slowly.  I told her before she raced back into line that if she lay on her back with her arms at her side she would go MUCH faster.  She responded, “really”?!?  Now of course the funny thing about this exchange is that what I was telling her is something you and I would consider common knowledge.  If you want to zoom along on a water slide, lay flat and tightly pin your arms to your side to take advantage of the aerodynamics.  That said, it wasn’t common knowledge to my daughter because common knowledge is only common knowledge after you learn it.

This whole thing brought to my mind an email I got last week from a potential client.  She was asking for help with a project that was outside of my comfort zone. My immediate thought was to let her know that it wasn’t a service I provided. My second was “why don’t I provide that service?”  Mind you, it wasn’t unrelated to what I do and it wasn’t something I couldn’t learn… just outside of my comfort zone. In other words, the project doesn’t form what I would consider my common knowledge. This morning I sent her an email asking if we could talk more about the project. I am excited and hopeful that I will be able to learn some new “common knowledge.”

Image above used via creative commons license and attributed to UGA College of Ag via Flickr