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Things We Wish Were True (Newsletter 004)

Just because you find something on the internet doesn't make it true.
Things We Wish Were True (Newsletter 004)

Greetings friends! James Bellerjeau here.

We are at the greatest risk of being fooled when we hear or read something we want to believe. Critical thinking goes out the window, and we lose all the healthy skepticism we otherwise call upon to navigate today's fake news jungle.

I have to think authors are doing it on purpose to get clicks. How else to explain the headlines and blurbs of articles I've seen online recently?

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about. Note, I give no links because although I am illustrating the point, I do not want to single out any particular author or publication:



The Upside of Being a Late Bloomer

It's never too late to "become" yourself

How to Identify and Tell Your Most Powerful Stories

By skipping their personal stories in talks and presentations, leaders are missing an opportunity to build strong connections with their audiences

A Playbook for Overcoming Cognitive Bias

Become a better negotiator by overcoming cognitive bias

How to Build Expertise in a New Field

Absorbing deep knowledge won't happen overnight. But frequently asking two powerful questions can put you on the right track

How to Use Your LinkedIn Profile to Power a Career Transition

Focus on these five aspects of your LinkedIn profile, and let your next job come to you

When Juggling Work and Family, Women Offer More Emotional Support Than Men

A study found that women provide emotional support at home regardless of their demands at work. Men? Not so much

I am not suggesting these articles are wrong, necessarily. My point is they are inviting us to believe what we wish were true (and it may well be true in some cases): I'm not unsuccessful, just a late bloomer; it's best to just be yourself; I can become an expert by asking easy questions; LinkedIn will find my next job for me!

The wishful thinking phenomenon also extends to the business world:



Why You Should Work Less and Spend More Time on Hobbies

When people don't have time for hobbies, businesses pay a price

Remote Work is Here to Stay

Many employees won’t go back to the office full-time. That’s going to require a massive rethinking on the part of bosses.

Your Company Needs a Digital Nomad Policy

Americans describing themselves as digital nomads rose by 49% between 2019 and 2020 – and traditional job holders made up a majority of these workers

Why Are We Here?

You can try to motivate employees with slogans and bonuses. But companies can't achieve true excellence if their employees don't know why they are coming to work every day

Don't Underestimate the Power of Luck When It Comes to Success in Business

You can't simply imitate life's winners and expect the same success – luck often has a larger role than you think

Really? Again, I don't disagree with some of the points being made. But let's not let wishful thinking interfere with keeping the big picture view.

For example, I totally get why working from home is so attractive. And I am  quite sure "remote work is here to stay." But here's a small tip: you should still go to the office regularly if you want to advance your career. See There Has Never Been A Better Time To Go Back To The Office (Really).

Your bosses will notice who is putting in the extra effort and will think well of you. Will those informal meetings and lunchtime discussions make up for a lack of performance? Absolutely not. But when it comes to deciding who is in line for limited promotions, you want to be on people's minds.

The world is competitive. If you want to outperform, be prepared to work hard. Show up early, stay late, and volunteer to do projects no one else wants. Always do your best, even on small things, by holding yourself to your own high standards.

I know you know this, so take it as a reminder: just because you find something on the internet doesn't make it true. Not even this Newsletter. Just because someone is an expert doesn't mean their opinion is correct. Experts also lead us astray with their assumed authority, because we think less critically when the source is supposedly credible. In fact, I will go so far as to say Experts Are The Last People We Should Listen To.

This week, the latest Moral Letters take us into related territory. How should we think about our interaction with the broader public, be it on social media or otherwise? And how do we continue to create an impact if we seclude ourselves from others?

007 - On Public Opinion - Moral Letters for Modern Times
Nothing is more dangerous to your reputation than exposure to public view in the circus of social media.
008 - On The Teacher’s Duty - Moral Letters for Modern Times
Just because I am alone does not mean I am wasting my hours away.

In the spirit of Letter 008, I hope you find something meaningful in this week's letters to take away.

I wish you happy reading.

Be well.