So I start wondering how many times I do exactly the same thing. I mean, how can I know what I don't know? How much is there? How do I even know if something I really believe is true or not?
It's hard to think that everything I believe about the world might be completely untrue. In illusion. An ... imagination.
Sometimes I am faced with a situation where if I convince the other person of what I believe, then I also believe that person will be better off. For example, if a car is coming and a child is entering a road, Instinctively, we think to call out to the child or try to stop the child or yell at the car to stop the car, but what if the underlying belief: That the child is better off not being hit. Is false?
What if the child may be better off for being hit. Perhaps it makes the child stronger later in life or through her recovery, she meets the man of her dreams and they live happily ever after?
We don't know. I don't know. How can I know what to do?
Frequently, when I qualify the knowledge I'm sharing with comments about my level of certainty in it and/or its sources, I'm criticized for being some combination of "too verbose", "uncertain", "confusing" (even though, when people actually pay attention to me, they usually say afterward that they have a much better understanding than they did before), etc.
The world is complex, sometimes. But there's a lot of pressure to ignore that complexity.
And then people wonder why things go to hell in a hand basket. And EVEN THEN, all too often they don't really want to know. They just want to know who to blame, and what pre-packaged "solution" to implement.
What do I need? Responses so that I can determine my own schedule. What do I get? "Just tell me when you'll be done."
Well, Mr/Ms project manager, what do you really need to be doing? Getting answers from the dependencies who are refusing to answer me. But that's difficult and frustrating and time consuming. So you just lean on me, because I'm on your team and at hand.
More frustrating than schedules are specifications. I'll do some QA work. In order to have some idea of the effort, I need to know the specifications. But those are still in (major) flux (despite being 2/3 of the way through the budgeted schedule). I attempt to explain this. I start describing detail because the person I'm talking to has no idea of the scope of impact this lack of definition creates, or perhaps even that there is still a lack of definition and what that is. But they just want a date, and/or a number of hours.
I'm delving into detail because they haven't done their job. But they don't want to understand the impact of their lapse. They just want "the solution".
Not that I don't make mistakes, myself, and sometimes fail to deliver. But I try not to blow people off because they are finding what they are tackling to be complex.
I guess my comment has ended up being very work focused. Similar things happen in personal life. I started to describe an example, but I think I've written enough.
But then half an hour later they ask me the same question the same way and so I just say, 'Yes.' and start answering like that, yes, no, yes, no, yes, yes... and they tend to like that better.
It is also interesting to consider that you might be wrong about how wrong somebody is. What if you are both right, that you have not considered their issue in a context they perceive?
We perfectionists strive to be right and worry too much about being wrong. How complicated we make our lives.
I hate to bring Godwin into this, but Hitler acted/caused motion, so did Stalin, so do a lot of bad people. Did the world really reward them?
The point is that, right or wrong, they made decisions. They lived. How many of us can say that we took a chance and really felt alive with that big decision? Maybe it is about starting a war with your neighboring country; maybe it is as thrilling as asking your sweetheart to marry you. The act of making the decision breathes life into you. And sure, maybe it is the wrong thing to do, but how do you measure that in good time before making your decision?
The act of making the decision is what separates leaders and followers.
Edit: A better way to put it. "Think, but don't act" can only destroy your life. "Act, but don't think" can destroy everyone's.
Action is like fire-- it's a means to an end, not an end in and of itself.
You also have to factor out things that appear on both sides of the equation. Any of the possible positive things you have prevented that also could happen had you intervened are irrelevant to the decision.
We never have perfect knowledge, but we must act anyway. The alternative is to be frozen and do nothing, ever.
Not so many times. People who fall into your description do know they are BSing, what they don't know is some people actually know they are doing so. I have seen a few of these who actually know their words are total crap, know that everyone doubts them, put keep going with a straight face. They are also the kind that usually get promotions and pay raises.
For example, what is easier - convince you a) that the Martians are attacking or b) that I believe the Martians are attacking?
a) Convince the girl that she is interesting and sexy or b) convince her that you believe that she is interesting and sexy
For example, one of the purposes of fancy, polished, sleek TV automobile ads is to reassure buyers of that particular car that they made the right purchase ("Dude, that's my car!")
Similarly, our beliefs are self-reinforcing. Like imagine you had a conflict with a co-worker because he wronged you in some way. Even if he tries to make up, you may continue to filter all his actions through the he-wronged-me or what-is-he-really-trying-to-do filter. Even if his intentions are honest and beneficial.
There is a bit of a conspiracy theorist in all of us. Either you can believe people are out to get you or take situations as they come, without judgement.
Latest research using functional MRI imaging actually points to strangers mirroring another's emotions at a very low base mental level. For example, if you believe cute women make you nervous, you will become nervous. And, as fMRI reveals they will sympathetically identify with your nervousness and feel anxiety/nervousness themselves. Which is kind of vicious circle (I'm making her nervous because I am nervous. Why did I go on this date?)
We don't want to go build a collider that could create a black hole big enough to envelop the earth, but really, how big is that?
I do however believe and agree that beliefs are self reinforcing (see I failed again, just like I knew I would)
However, you are still wrong. At one point the US National Government spent $1/4 mil per year in attempts to convince people who had bought American-made cars that they had made a good choice. (I don't know current stats, and know that I don't know them.)
Think of it this way: If you can convince people who bought your product to feel good about their decision then they will speak well of your product to others. Reputation and word of mouth are both powerful and worth investing in.
I don't see BMW, say, doing these kinds of ads and they seem quite popular.
If you want to get into the conversation (not recommended as it gets ugly quite often when people are completely sure of something * caugh...republicans... caugh*) it's actually better to argue on why they're wrong to be COMPLETELY sure rather than argue the opposite point you might think is right.
They will have far less argument to explain why their point is completely right than to show that yours isn't right either.
The problem is that its the most cock-sure on either side that get into the intractable arguments with each other, or worse, rush into action so sure that they are correct that they never even consider the unintended consequences.
Sadly, it also makes them much more likely to be elected.
Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. - Douglas Adams