Bullshit is a great threat in our time. It is omnipresent.
It is a fact:
Everyone lies: It is just a question of how, when, and why.
The examples reach from relationship-saving expressions like:
„You look so good in those pants!“ to promises in a restaurant like: „Your meal will be ready in five minutes!“
We have learned to dub our problems and difficulties, to play down feedback or criticism, and to irritate and manipulate people.
As irrational beings we find it hard to accept tough truths and our deceptions protect us from each other and ourselves.
Deceptions help avoid unnecessary conflicts and we feel being in a strong position.
However, lies, serious lies, destroy trust, the binding force in all relationships.
And bullshit is a particularly troublesome kind of lie.
Bullshit involves unnecessary deceptions, using polite lies or malicious fabrications.
Bullshitters ignore facts and invent a story to protect themselves.
As bullshit is such a bad behavior, here some tips and advice:
Why people bullshit
We should know that people lie for three reasons:
1.) To protect themselves, to protect something they need, or to prevent something they fear (confrontation, problems, …)
2.) Because lies often work.
3.) We want others to see us as better than we see ourselves.
Detecting bullshit: How do you know what you know?
The first rule is: Expect bullshit.
Second rule: Question everything you hear. (Socrates, for example, expected ignorance.
Like Socrates, assume people are unaware of their ignorance.)
Third rule: When someone delivers you an idea, an argument or an obscure reference, ask the question:
„How do you know what you know?“
(Challenging claims illuminates ignorance.)
(Notice, that people can’t answer your question quickly when you ask! Answers such as: „This is purely my opinion!“
Detecting bullshit: What is the counter argument?
A well-considered argument must involve alternate positions, so don’t feel shy to ask for them.
Bullshitters don’t do research, they make things up.
Ask questions like: „What are your concerns and how will they be addressed?“
Bullshitters crave urgency
Bullshit is all surface.
Bullshitters tend to crave urgency: They resist reviews, breaks or sleeping on a decision before it’s made.
Take your time and use time as an ally.
Never make decisions under pressure.
Ask for time to reflect.
Bullshitters want to make people feel stupid
Bullshitters tend to intimidate others … it is a tactic to make people feel stupid.
If you don’t understand something, cling to your doubts, and respond with wisdom:
„I refuse to accept this proposal until I fully understand this!“
Assignment of trust
Assign trust carefully.
Never agree more than what your trust allows.
Who cares how confident they are?
In the end it is about how confident are you.
WHAT WE SHOULD LEARN
An expert never talks „bullshit“ about other experts.
A leader has learned to control what he tells in public.
A leader never exposes another leader in public.
And a leader never tells false things about other people.
Telling the truth is an obligation …