Enlightened Conflict

the oversimplification crisis

September 11th, 2017

 

occam economy choice simplify

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We miss out on the value of the message itself as a vehicle for driving virality.”

 

Jonah Berger

 

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“Say something meaningful in an interesting way.”

 

Bruce McTague

<author of “the shortest business book ever written”>

 

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So.

 

 

oversimplification wrongThis is about how we have a simplification crisis.

 

 

Ok.

This is about how we have an oversimplification crisis.

 

This crisis is making us … well … stupid.

 

 

Ok.

This crisis is making us stupider.

 

 

Look.

 

What I mean is that in a world in which we know that everything is complex, and more often than not, more complex than our own pea like brains can handle, we unerringly swerve toward simplistic headline conclusions and oversimplifications and absurd bullet point conclusions.

 

This surface skating intellectualism just makes us stupider.

 

Now.oversimplify assumption risk life business

 

We may convince ourselves we do this simply as a mental survival technique but I would argue, and I do, that it actually is the opposite of a survival technique … it is destructive behavior. It is destructive in that it destroys the overall thinking of what is actually a population quite capable of being intelligent, if not intellectual.

Yeah.

It makes us stupider.

 

I thought about this the other day because I have conversations with some incredibly smart and talented people who know a shitload more about more things than I could ever imagine and this topic came up. I note the smartness of these people to highlight how unusual it is that I can say something that actually can make a group of these people stop, be silent and then go “hmmmmmmmmmm.”

It is a rare thing.

 

And, yet, it happened the other day.

 

After some extensive conversation on North Korea, global trade challenges, Trump <of course> & foreign policy we opened the discussion to “what is the biggest challenge facing us …”

 

My thought drew some <thoughtful> silence.

 

I said “oversimplification.”

 

To me … oversimplification misleads and creates bad decisions and, worse, creates bad thinking <which leads to bad opinions, attitudes and thoughts>.

 

And I offered a couple reasons why I believe this is happening <I did this because if you can identify the issues you can find solutions>:

 

 

We have convinced ourselves we do not have time for complex

 

 

big fat waste of my time business show for itGoing back to the ‘destructive behavior’ thought I shared earlier …  oversimplification is anything but efficient. It actually demands more time in a variety of ways. The two simplest ways it does so is <1> the time we over invest attempting to isolate the simplest version of what is anything but simple and <2> the amount of time & energy we have to invest explain everything beyond the simplistic tripe initially offered, to thwart misguided behavior & reactions to the oversimplified offering & to redefine the oversimplification into bifurcated parts of the oversimplified whole.

 

We do this destructive behavior because we have convinced ourselves that we all have shorter, and shortened, attention spans.

We do this destructive behavior because we have convinced ourselves that people best retain “one thing.”

We do this destructive behavior because we have convinced ourselves in our perceived “never enough time” world we have to topline everything <to fit everything in>.

We do this destructive behavior because we have convinced ourselves that in a blizzard of nonstop things constantly vying for our attention the only way to capture someone’s attention is in some pithy soundbite.

 

Basically we have convinced ourselves that hollowing out an idea and a thought actually benefits not only the idea and the thought … but us!

 

This is fucking nuts. Absolutely crazy.

 

Unfortunately, and truthfully, some things are just too complex to communicate in a sound bite or in 3 seconds or less.

 

No matter how brief and simple you want to make it … well … it is neither brief nor simple. It is complex and sometimes the opposite of brief.

 

It isn’t just about telling a story.

 

Nor is it just about finding influencers to broker the story.

 

Nor is it just about practical value.

 

Nor is it just about emotion.

 

Unfortunately it is a combination of those things. Yeah. Effective communication is … uhm … complex.

 

 

We have convinced ourselves that simple & simplicity is reflective of common sense.

 

 

time to do it right do it overI admit.

 

I have never been shy about calling bullshit on the simplistic tripe being spewed under the guise of ‘expert advice’ or ‘common sense.’

 

That said.

I will suggest no topic has  been tortured more by common sense than simplicity.

 

 

Common sense suggests the simplest thing is the best.

 

Common sense suggests it is easier for a person to remember one thing and one word.

 

Common sense suggests in a complex world we humans crave simplicity.

 

Common sense suggests in a busy world we only have time for simplicity.

 

Common sense suggests a lot of nonsensical bullshit.

 

I will not argue that making something as simple as it can be is good but … well … simplistically … oversimplification is misleading and ultimately creates bad less-than-informed decision making AND thinking.

 

We have used this common sense simplicity bullshit for one simple reason — it serves us well in challenging the most established legitimate rule of Life & things. And that rule is “the world is complex.”

 

We embrace simplistic solution after simplistic solution, all labeled as ‘common sense ideas’, which are often counter to what an expert would suggest <which is often deemed “too complex”>…  only to find 90% of the time common sense was not only just simply wrong but also made us stupider.

 

I have written about simplicity and the complexity of finding the simplest way to communicate the complex many times and as I do so today I would remind everyone of what Jonah Berger offered us for a nifty sound bite compilation of sound bites to create a sound bite philosophy:

 

Here are his STEPPS for making anything go viral:

 

–          Social Currency: We share things that make us look good (even if that means pictures of our cat).

 

–          Triggers: Easily memorable information means its top of mind and tip of the tongue.

 

–          Emotion: When we care, we share.

 

–          Public: Built to show, built to grow.

 

–          Practical Value: News people can use.

 

–          Stories: People are inherent storytellers, and all great brands also learn to tell stories. Information travels under the guise of idle chatter.

 

And while this is about “making things go viral” it is actually about finding the simplest way to communicate complex shit in a way that it is actually retained in a cognitive way.

 

I would also note that this dos not reflect “one simple thing”, sometimes your total obliviousness blows my mindit does reflect the complexity of reality and the mind and it reflects how to … well … help make us less stupider.

 

Ah.

Cognitive way.

As in “we actually understand what it is we heard, saw or read.”

 

That is an important thing to ponder because over simplification cheats cognitive value as well as the value of whatever it is you have to offer people. Simplicity may be “memorable” but it doesn’t really lodge itself in anyone’s mind & memory in any meaningful way.

 

In fact.

 

The less depth you offer in your oversimplification the more you are at the mercy of the mind that decides to remember you. What I mean by that is if you don’t provide the depth the mind will create some perceptions around whatever it lodges in the pea like brain.

 

Uhm.

 

This means the pea like brain lodges only what is actually the brain’s perceptions of what to remember and not what you <a> know to be true, <b> think it may be important for that mind to know or <c> want the brain to store away in its mind.

 

faulty reasoning oversimplification overlookI imagine what I am talking about is some wacky version of awareness versus engagement but that shit is bullshit too.

 

It’s all bullshit because we should be turning away from simplification and engagement and connection and simply focus on “say what you need to say to persuade someone to think or do what you want them to think or do.”

 

All the other bullshit just confuses things.

 

If I tell someone that ‘being noticed ‘ is the most important thing, than some asshat is gonna come up with some zany oversimplified shit that gets noticed but doesn’t effectively communicate one thing <let alone all the things you may have deemed truly important in the beginning>.

 

I admit … I balk at a lot of the bullshit offered online about simplification <and the importance thereof> because … well … it is an oversimplification which diminishes the importance of ‘communicating depth’ and increases the importance of ‘being noticed.’

I do not like that equation.

 

Effective communication is not a binary choice.

 

Effective communication, as with almost everything, is a complex challenge in communicating a complex thing well – because if you can communicate a couple things well it actually increases the perceived value <which then inevitably creates a stronger “memory stamp” … with value attached!>.

 

Which brings me back to our oversimplification crisis.

 

I could clearly argue that in today’s fragmented messaging world where information multiplies at light speed and a day still remains 24 hours that we humans are constantly honing our “incoming thoughts” filtering mechanisms.

 

I could also argue that our filtering system, as it exists today, sucks.

 

We have dumbed down our communication and thinking behavior to such a hollowed out status the majority of time we skate along the superficial irrelevant surface of reality.

 

If we are lucky, the ice doesn’t crack.

 

But the truth is that oversimplification only offers the thinnest of ice to skate on and inevitably we fall thru the ice … over and over and over again.

 

Uhm.

 

And in the business world falling through the ice is bad. It is, metaphorically, making a bad decision based on shallow thinking and paying for it.

 

Yeah.

I did say the biggest issue we face is oversimplification.

I said that because if I can solve this, if I can have smarter people communicating complex things more smartly and I can have more everyday schmucks understanding that simple solutions are more often like trying to place a square peg in a round hole … well … I think it unravels a shitload of other problems we face in today’s world.

 

I imagine I am arguing that if more people are less stupid and more aware of the reality of things the more effective & efficient we will be in addressing the difficulties reality tends to place in front of us.

 

period end-of-story_design

 

In the end I will go back to where i began … “say something meaningful in an interesting way.”

 

There are no rules nor boundaries in this statement.

 

You use as many words, or as few, as you need to say … to say something meaningful in an interesting way with the intent for it to be understood … and, ultimately, persuade someone to think something.

 

Period.

executive coaching and solving obliviousness

February 24th, 2017

 

either madness or brilliance

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“… life coaching is quickly becoming one of the leading tools that successful people use to live extraordinary lives.”

 

some Life coach

 

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“WTF.”

 

Bruce

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Well.

 

Back in 2013 I asked the question ‘what did we do before life coaching’ … used life coachthe quotes above … and basically stated I thought Life coaching was a bullshit profession.

 

And while I received a great comment, which highlighted some good points on what coaching should & should not be, basically scolding me with regard to what I said … any ‘coaching’ isn’t really about telling someone what to do but rather providing an outside perspective attempting to show insights to help someone get to where they want to go.

To me it seems to me that all Life, and Executive, coaching does is to assist in steps to insure … well … accountability … personal & managerial. And it seems to me that all this coaching does is make an attempt to better control one’s destiny <which I imagine is anyone’s real objective not just some executive>.

 

I know I could never be a coach mostly because I don’t think I am that positive nor can I use the words these coaches seem to love “world wants to give you everything you desire” … “your uniqueness is a pleasant gift you can give to the world” ….  “takes courage to follow the path you believe in”“positive energy always attracts positive outcomes”.

I know I could never be a coach because I do believe there are limits to someone’s ability … in other words … everyone has a ceiling. That doesn’t mean you cannot improve sideways or build some depth to improve or fill in some cracks in your ability … just that we do have a reality ‘stop sign’ with regard to our abilities.

 

Regardless.

 

I am just not that motivational.

It just seems like bullshit to me and all I want to do is to “talk about getting shit done the way you want to get it done using a good moral compass to guide it all.”

 

That would be my coaching selling point.

Kinda “blah.”

Kinda no bullshit.

 

And, you know what?

I talk with dozens of CEO’s and business owners on a random basis and they don’t need coaching … they just need some new perspectives to get them out of where they are mentally and step out for a fresh view on a topic, issue or problem. And they mostly don’t need any motivational bullshit, or any bullshit for that matter, or buzzword crap.

 

I still believe Life coaching <and I do toss ‘executive coaching’ in that segment … although most I have crossed paths with are less ‘faux psychologists’ and more ‘pragmatic measuring milestones’ advisors> as mostly bullshit.

 

But.

And this is a big but.

 

If I could ever point to a case in which I believe executive coaching, or Life coaching, may actually be useful … it would be with Donald J. Trump. I am fairly sure I have never seen a business leader with worse organizational leadership instincts and as poor inspirational, vision and communications leader skills.

 

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“The crowning fortune of a man is to be born to some pursuit which finds him employment and happiness, whether it be to make baskets, or broadswords, or canals, or statues, or songs.”

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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obvious oblivious confuse blind lead

I am fairly sure we would have less than zero chance of convincing good ole Donald J to accept some coaching because I think he is oblivious to the fact he is not loved by all, he is not respected by all, he is not followed by all <because he attained the title> or that he is not perceived as a great business person by all.

 

He seems oblivious to the fact he actually has to ‘win over’ the skeptics <which every newly promoted leader knows you have to do> and that he actually has to ‘win over’ basic approval <which he is sorely lagging in>.

 

  • Donald J is not only oblivious I would suggest if he read what I just wrote he wouldn’t understand one aspect of it.

 

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“There was no answer, except the general answer life gives to all the most complex and insoluble questions.

That answer is: one must live for the needs of the day, in other words, become oblivious.”

 

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

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While people can debate his appropriate approval ratings <most agree it is dismal> a new CBS study broke down the range of President Trump’s potential support by showing people separated, by themselves, into four groups:

 

  • The Believers. the strongest of Trump backers those backing him but waiting for him to deliver. Believers (22%)] are the president’s strongest backers, who like what he’s doing and how he’s doing it; defend him against his critics, and see him as defending the country against threats.

CBS oblivious Trump skeptics view organization

 

  • The Conditionals. Those quai-supporting him for now but waiting to see some results. Conditionals (22%)] will remove their support if he doesn’t ‘fix the economy’ for them. They’re also concerned about safety, but aren’t as all-in with everything Mr. Trump does, especially in terms of style. A quarter don’t like the tweets.

 

 

  • The Curious. The curious (21%) oppose Mr. Trump at the moment but ‘would reconsider’ supporting him if he does a good job. They’re looking for more than just results, though – they want Mr. Trump to reach out to them, and they want respect.

 

 

  • The Resistors. those who seem immovably, firmly opposed: The Resistors (35%). They want the Democrats to oppose Mr. Trump on many more things, rather than try to work with him; demographically, they are much more likely to be either African-American or Hispanic and young.

 

 

I would assume this is the specific type of information a leader, seeking to lead, would love to have. And if he/she <Donald J> chose to be oblivious to it … I would assume this is the specific type of information an Executive coach would love to have.

 

To ignore this type of information would not only be leadership malpractice but poor organizational awareness.

 

I wrote back in January that being aware that ‘converting Skepticals is always the key to organizationally unity‘.  No … it is not breeding excitement among the fewer believers nor is it attempting to placate the non-believers … getting an organization going is almost always about ‘the skeptical.’

 

Skepticals reside in the Promised Land for a leader. One foot in hopeful promise and one foot in practical promise.

I say that because 43% of America <Conditionals & Curious> are the Skepticals to Trump.

 

comfort talk face in the eye

……………… coaching Donald J. …………………

If I were coaching Donald J I would be focusing on that 43% day in and day out because … well … while I could argue it is the potential pathway to alignment … they actually reflect ‘effectiveness.’

 

If I were coaching Donald J I would tell him to be very concerned with the “resistors’ because … well … 35% is a ‘yuge’ number … as in massive. It is the kind of number that would keep any sane CEO awake at night.

 

If I were coaching Donald J I would also point out that if he would solve the Skeptical group they will inevitably drag a good % of the Resistors out of steadfast resistant into a ‘reluctant cooperator’ status <which is okay>.

 

  • Donald J is not only oblivious I would suggest if he read what I just wrote he wouldn’t understand one aspect of it.

 

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“I wasn’t sure what was worse: being oblivious or living within reality.”

 

Shannon A. Thompson

 

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I admit.

It seems crazy to me to have to be writing this shit.

 

Like I said earlier … I speak with dozens of CEO types and know even more personally.  Not one … zero … would need this type of advice.

And why I can say that is simple.

 

Of the 200 people promoted to their 1st manager position … 200 of them will make rookie mistakes. They will not have ‘coaches’ but they will have mentors & bosses and they will do some shit by trial & error and figure it out.

 

Of the 200 people promoted to their senior level manager position … 200 of them will make some mistake … but only about 20 of them will make a mistake that reflects some obliviousness to what reality is.

 

Of the 200 people promoted to their CEO/business owner position … 198 of them will make some mistakes … but the mistakes they make will not be organizational type crap but rather “what to do first & how to do things” type missteps … and maybe 2 of them will remain oblivious to reality.

 

I am sure Executive Coaches can help out on the “what to do first & how to do things” type missteps and that is why that profession exists … but what the hell do you do with the 2?

<which I am tempted to suggest Donald J fits into>

 

Anyway.

 

Lastly.

 

I would coach Donald J. on the “yuge” difference between confidence & optimism.

Trump oblivious curious organizationI could view the numbers I showed earlier as well as some other attitudinal polls and get a nice sense that a larger group of my organization had a strong thread of optimism for a variety of meaningful things.

If I were the CEO, I would like that.

 

I could also view the numbers I showed earlier as well as some other attitudinal polls and get an uncomfortable sense that a larger group of my organization wasn’t exactly confident — with regard to me & my behavior as well as attaining the desired results.

 

To be honest. The situation could be worse. If I were that CEO I wouldn’t be euphoric but on the other hand I would recognize that, if managed wisely, I could close the gap between optimism & confidence and make it a ‘yuge’ win for the organization.

 

  • Donald J is not only oblivious I would suggest if he read what I just wrote he wouldn’t understand one aspect of it.

 

Sigh.oblivious do not want to hear

 

I honestly do not know what you do with regard to coaching a CEO who is either oblivious to the reality of his or her organization … or worse … believes it is irrelevant.

 

But maybe that is why I am not an Executive Coach. I wouldn’t know what to do to coach him.

 

What I do know is that because of Trump … I am actually rethinking my views on the value of Life coaching and Executive coaching.

 

 

how hacks misuse images to make less than truthful points

January 10th, 2017
us-voting-map-hacks-images-misuse-information

………… 2016 Presidential Election Results by county …..

======

 

If I were to look at this map I would believe the majority of the country, overwhelmingly, was conservative <or Republican>. That is false.

 

If I were to look at this map I would believe the majority of people, overwhelmingly, was conservative <or Republican>. That is false.

 

If I were to look at this map I would believe the majority of counties were, overwhelmingly, conservative <or Republican>. That is false.

 

Shit.

 

If I were to look at this map I would believe this was representative of all of America. That is false <only about 60% of voter eligible people actually voted>.

 

Ok.

 

I am not a data wonk nor do I give a rat’s ass about politics and who is conservative and who is liberal.

 

seek_truthAll I care about is truth and good ideas which benefit the majority.

 

So what would be better than this incredibly misleading asshat of an image?

 

I would imagine if I were to ‘dot map’ the country coded by zip codes I would most likely get a better sense for how even in some rural areas liberals lived side by side with conservatives, in urban areas there were neighborhoods of conservatives buried amongst the wackjob liberal and that zip codes reflect a mixed bag of people who think different thoughts and desire a varied list of things <and have a variety of legitimate issues>.

 

And then I would imagine if I tinted my colors by % split between Republican & Democrat we would find that it is very rare for some county <which may be coded in the above image as “red”> to be 100% ‘red’ but rather anywhere between 51% red to 80% red.

 

And how about if I figured out some color coding to show the % split between Independent & Republican & Democrat …. & non voters … well … I imagine we would find that zip code by zip code, maybe even county by county … all the colors are a shitload less bright and a helluva lot more lighter.

 

Yeah. This kind of shit is important.

 

Doesn’t it matter to anyone thinking about this if I have a 1,000 person county that voted 95% Trump and a 100,000 person county that voted 39% Trump <but he still won the county? <answer: yes>

 

And then I would imagine that if I even went down into a household zip cluster we would find that there is a mixed bag of people even living in the same neighborhoods let alone a house.

 

But, no, some hack wanted to make some point and shoveled this shit image round for people to gobble up and spew out platitudes of mandates and elitism voting and working class bullshit.

This map is shit. If only the world were this simple. But it is not.

 

Now.

 

I admit.

 

In my past business life I have not been above not only using selective information to make a point nor am I not guilty of creating an image to showcase a vivid metaphor for the point.

 

However.

 

It doesn’t take you long in business to recognize that decisions are made based off of some simplistic net conclusions. And if you are not careful you could … well … present an image like the one I opened this piece with and make some really important overarching conclusions and, ultimately, some fairly important decisions are made.

 

Here is what I know about that.

 

In the business world people get fired for presenting shit like this and misleading people to make some misguided decisions. I know for sure I would get fired if I tried this crap.

 

Regardless.

 

Disingenuous use of information is what hacks do. They don’t know any better.no brains stupid people jellyfish

 

Purposeful disingenuous use of information is what assholes do. They know better.

 

And maybe this is where I get grumpy with people like FoxNews. In general I think they have some really smart journalists … particularly in the day time when it is more journalism rather than opinion. That said. I think they, as do all major news outlets, have a responsibility to their audience to not only say what people want to hear but to also nuance it with some perspective so people don’t walk away with a misguided simplistic thought.

Their responsibility lies in exactly the same responsibility I, as a business presenter, has … managing the net conclusion <because inevitably I know someone is going to make some decision based off of that>.

 

And, yeah, the burden of responsibility does vary depending on the entity & person. While I do believe everyone has the responsibility to use information properly, factually not selectively, and portray it in a way that makes your point in a non-disingenuous way … your burden increases or decreases depending upon who is dependent upon your information.

 

Someone like FoxNews knows they have a diehard conservative viewership therefore their burden to enlighten is higher than say someone who has a mixed viewership like an ABC, CBS or NBC.

 

Worse than maybe Fox? Republican Politicians. They are chosen to be honest representors of truth so that we, the people, can be better informed and more enlightened as to real issues rather than ‘false flag’ issues <which permits us to better evaluate what is being done and what is important and what are the real issues>.

 

<note: to be clear … I could choose a different topic and make the same point about Democrat politicians and their lack of responsibility on that topic>

 

Here is what I know.

 

Hacks play to their audiences’ worst devils and play to existing perceptions & attitudes.

 

It is the cheap way to use good information <and cheapens not only the information but cheapens the truth>.

 

It is the lazy way to present.

 

And it is admitting no personal responsibility for portraying the real & total truth.

 

Sigh.

 

As for this stupid map and stupid <but somewhat important> information.

 

Would I use an image showing voting districts? Sure.

But only internally.

If my job was to elect someone and therefore I had to figure out where and how to spend my money, I would use it.

 

But everyone should be clear that voting districts have been bastardized to maximize their party voting base so much that voting districts are meaningless to anyone outside of those who are looking to get someone elected. They misrepresent general takeaways.

gullible CharlieBrown

I say that because I think it is not only disingenuous but also misleading to people by showing shit like this in a mainstream way. People who know better should be better than this. Its crap like this that not only divides people even more but encourages further discussion on elitism versus ‘working people’ when the truth is significantly more nuanced than that.

 

Using images like this only hurts the discourse and increases the sense of divide between the haves & the have nots, the intellectuals versus the manual labor and the city folk versus regular folk.

 

Look.

 

Set the maps aside.

 

A shitload of ‘elitist’ rich people voted for Trump.

 

A shitload of ‘creative artsy types’ voted for Trump.

 

A shitload of smart blue collar hard working people voted for Clinton.

 

A shitload of smart hard working ‘intellectual’ people <who poorly articulated their thoughts> voted for Clinton.

 

A shitload of rural/suburban people voted for Trump and a shitload of urban/suburban people voted for Clinton.

 

I have written far too much and far too often on the real issues behind the most recent election in frustration over the simplistic bullshit people throw out as for ‘why Trump won’ and ‘how Trump won.’

 

If I were to reference one thing I have written for people to think about it would be ‘the death of the malls’ which, to me, reflects the complexity and nuances of what hollowed out non-urban America and created some attitudes which

.......... searching for water ......

………. searching for water ……

governing officials have ignored <and Trump hasn’t acknowledge either … but a camel dying of thirst will drink any water … even poisoned>.

 

That said.

 

It is using information improperly in images like this that actually convince some of us everyday camels we are actually dying of thirst … when we are not <that is a warning to citizens and politicians>.

 

It is using information improperly like this that actually convinces some of us to make some fairly important misguided decisions <that is a warning to business people>.

 

I hate crap like this.

 

Fucking hate it.

elitism versus experience

December 20th, 2016

 intellectual-intelligence-emotions-feelings-facts

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“Success is a lousy teacher.

It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

 

Bill Gates

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“We’re all working together; that’s the secret.”

 

Sam Walton

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Original commenter:

It isn’t scientists’ role to package facts and theory for the general public, let alone the most willfully ignorant.

 

 

Response commenter:

Surely scientists have some responsibility to make their findings understandable to the public?

Otherwise how do their findings get incorporated into policy?

 

====================

 

 

So.

 

With so much discussion going on about “the working class” it may become easy this-is-the-part-you-find-out-who-you-are-contrarianto ignore the implicit backlash against ‘intellectualism’ or ‘the out-of-touch elite.’

 

I do not believe there is an anti-intellectualism crisis.

 

I do not believe we have reached an era where any influencers who are smart, or intellectual, are dismissed as the reigning voices of truth & expertise.

 

But.

I do know that elites, or so-called elites, are despised and the opinions of experts are disregarded in favor of emotions or gut feelings, i.e., feelings are as important, if not more important, than facts.

 

And I do know that Michael Gove said “people have had enough of experts.”

 

Whew.

Not only is that a bullshit quote … it is a scary thought.

 

I could walk into a crowded blue collar bar and after some discussion I could be construed as ‘thinker not doer’ … despite the fact I have over 30 years of doing practical experience.

And therein lies the issue.

 

Depending on how you articulate your experience you can sound intellectually elitist <too smart for your own good> or you can sound pragmatically hard working. And within those two bookends is a fairly wide spectrum.

 

There has become a blurring of … well … everything actually … but in this case … true experience & expertise and ‘elitism.’

 

This is creating a horrible thing in society and our culture. If you have gobs of experience you are labeled as out of touch with the everyday schmuck.

 

If you are an everyday schmuck you are immediately labeled as anti-intellectual and, far too often, less educated.

 

This is a horrible situation for everyone <because no one wins>.

 

Simplistically … education and experience are two different things. I can certainly intellectual-elite-asimov-false-notion-ignorance but it shouldn’t diminish experience wisdom <and vice versa>.

 

And that is where the whole communication and communicating aspect comes into play.

For if neither side can clearly communicate their value then … well … everyone assumes the worst.

 

It would be far too easy for me to suggest that if someone has the experience, and the wisdom that comes with it, they should be able to articulate it and communicate it in a way that anyone would not feel condescended to or diminished or simply out-of-touch with either hard working or ‘thinker’.

 

But experience doesn’t necessarily translate into effective communication.

 

And it gets even more challenging when both sides have a pair of perception filtered glasses on as they view the opposite they are seeking to communicate with.

 

My prime example is easy … climate change.

 

The simple fact is that climate activists cannot sell their story effectively – they fall back on … well … facts and numbers. This is deemed as ‘arrogance’ because they get frustrated you don’t see the truth in the numbers and you are deemed ‘ignorant’ as you get frustrated because you aren’t a scientist and don’t want to extrapolate numbers … you just want a simple truthful story.

 

Even non-science people  recognize that cherry-picked statistics and trends & projections are not the same as long-term accurate predictions and effects. But if the case is so strong it must be possible to bring it forth in a compelling way combined with compelling measures to address it.

 

That said.

 

intellectual-behave-as-intelligenceThe most egregious act with regard to elitism versus experience actually takes place when people smart enough to know … undermine other people smart enough to know … within the leadership we seek to take our cues from <or let’s label them what the everyday schmuck would call ‘the ruling intellectual elite’>.

 

They sacrifice acceptance of the value of their ‘competitor’ for undermining the value. And in doing so they undermine everyone’s value. Some would suggest this is ‘not seeing the forest for the trees.’

 

I would suggest this is actually a doom loop. If every day people have no one to trust with regard to their experience they become anxious. And, then, in this state of anxiety, many of those same people no longer trust the experts <let alone anyone attempting to lead by thought leadership>.

 

If you cannot trust experience it all falls apart. Because then gaining experience just doesn’t matter <or specific experience doesn’t matter>.

 

In addition … it seems to foster an environment in which individual thinking is discouraged, the value of scientific/researched fact is diminished and, contrary to belief, the power shifts to some authority figure who leads through opinion rather than fact <and people follow off of ‘feelings’ rather than truth>.

 

That said … all things being equal, it means this issue comes down to its most basic level <which actually creates a real divide in ‘us versus them’>.

 

 

Here is where the biggest gap in skills & experience exists.

 

Survival skills.

 

test think smarterSurvival in corporate America is significantly different than survival in … well … survival.

 

If all of urban/suburban America lost their microwaves and fast food restaurants … well … they would be screwed.

 

Sure.

Most people know how to light a fire <with a match>, wash underwear and make soup but that basic skill set is not even close to the survival skills of the majority of the world let alone rural America.

 

Therefore … experience is measured in two different ways … basic survival versus ‘elitist’ survival. And neither side values the other’s skills equally … or maybe worse … they devalue the other’s skill set.

 

It’s a dangerous state of affairs.

 

 

We are shortchanging our ability to shape events by having each side believe they are the only ones capable of shaping the events.

 

 

We are shortchanging the people who are much more confident in the assessments of what to do and when to do it.

 

 

We are shortchanging the people who understand that in any situation and in any choice there are winners and losers and just because you may have lost smart and stupid peopledoesn’t make you a loser.

 

And, of course, we shortchange the people who don’t have the experience to lead by undervaluing the experience that they do have … and what they have to offer in terms of thinking & ideas.

 

We don’t know what we don’t know.

 

And in those words of wisdom resides our biggest challenge with regard to this crisis of elitism versus experience … we need to figure out how to better articulate expertism and experience … because if we do not … the inexperienced will seek to take on the responsibilities of the experienced … and we will be doomed to fail.

 

 

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“The pen may indeed be mightier than the sword, but the wordsmith would do well to welcome the blacksmith back into the fold, so that artisan craftsmanship the world over may fend off the ravages of industrialised homogeneity and bland monoculture.”

 

Alex Morritt

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Enlightened Conflict