Level of Understanding

To solve a problem a certain amount of understanding is required for a successful outcome. A known lack of detail can create doubt and lead to the fear to act. An unknown lack of detail can lead to unforeseen problems and potential errors. Research improves the level of understanding.


For example to start a business many details need to be gathered;

Known Lack of Detail

Sometimes a list like that above is just too much for some to handle. A person may feel that they do not know enough about accounting to start the business. It is this lack of detail that prevents people from taking action. The fear is real and justified. They know that they do not know enough and it is a better place to be having no idea about what is missing. A choice can be made to fill the gap.

Unknown Lack of Detail

Einstein once said that the more he learned, the more he knew nothing. As he learned his awareness of how much there was to learn became clearer to him. Don't let this frighten you as you can always learn enough to get the job started and completed. A lifeform does not need to know everything about physics and electronics to watch a television. It comes down the amount of information required to complete the task at hand, namely how to plug in the television and operate it.

How to Perform Research

Research is learning. Taking the time to:

  • ask;
  • search;
  • read;
  • investigate; and
  • even experiment;

will increase someone's understanding of a topic. It just takes time and effort.

Ask a QuestionSearchRead a Book

Determining How Much Research is Required

One method is by comfort level. That is getting to a level of understanding where you believe you know enough to comfortably move forward and work the rest out as you go. This method is common with those who have adequate self-esteem but can be used by those who are more cautious. It is important not to be over confident as important detail will be missed. Stay focused and concentrate on covering all the steps, listing them by name, then writing down sufficient detail about each step to satisfy your own comfort level. This requires self-discipline.


Another method is the 80:20 rule. This is knowing 80% of the information upfront and learning the remaining 20% after action is commenced. Don't worry about being too exact, between 75% and 85% is ok. It is knowing that the remainder will be worked out in good time. This method works better when the total amount to be learned can be determined before you start, like the number of pages in a book which has to be read.


Finally as mentioned earlier, it may come down to having enough information to get the task done, that is, how to use tools rather than knowing how the tools work.

Further Reading

80:20 Rule (wikipedia)