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
It's never too late
to "become" yourself
How to Identify and Tell Your Most Powerful Stories
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
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
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
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?
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
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?
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.