The villain is a psychological tendency called the Curse of Knowledge.
Once we know something, it’s almost impossible for us to imagine what it was like before we knew it. Our knowledge has “cursed” us.
That makes it so much more difficult for us to share what we know with others.
Chip and Dan Heath explain in their book "Made to Stick" how this happens:
Getting an idea across has two stages: the Answer stage and the Telling Others stage.
In the Answer stage, you leverage your experience and expertise to arrive at the idea you want to communicate.
The problem is that the factors that worked to your advantage in the Answer stage will backfire during the Telling Others stage. When you want to share your message, your expertise gets in the way. You tend to communicate as if your audience were you.
I’m noticing this every time I try to explain to my parents and relatives what I do for work. When I hear, “Ok…uhm…sounds fun!” I know that I failed to get the message across.
There are only two ways to beat the Curse of Knowledge.
The first is not to learn anything, which isn’t really an option.
The second is to take your ideas and transform them using the 6 principles that Chip and Dan discuss in their book. But these have to wait for another essay.