The Amazing Power Of Faking It
Bullshit has never been my strongest suit and that has been a spectacular failing. I can only surmise from the actions of some people I have met on my journey through time that there is an LSD kind of trip that comes with knowingly stringing people along pretending to expert views on things one can not possibly be assured of.
If I don’t know something pretty well it’s pretty clear soon enough that I don’t. I hedge, I “er” and I “hmm”. To my frustration, I’ve found that this does not work very well in the traditional corporate environment. Actually it doesn’t work at all! People, it seems, demand rock solid assurance and the type of conviction that only comes from hallucinogenic and spiritual omniscience.
So when I have found myself listening to an economist or an analyst it’s obvious as mud that they are good, not at forecasting or guesstimating the future, but at telling stories. They are usually so convincing that the content in their message becomes irrelevant. Listeners are easily impressed by presentation skills (ah, that’s why oratory was such a core part of Ancient Greek and Roman curriculum) and I have often heard colleagues say things like “I liked him. He presented very well.” Not what he presented but how.
As I reflect on my working life I see that it’s colleagues who suck up, fit in, palm off other people’s ideas as theirs, fold into the consensus and who speak volubly of views in a cock “sure 100%” manner who do way better than the practical logical guy who won’t factually state an opinion except it can be backed up by a QED.
Walter Isaacson relates in his bio of Steve Jobs a piece of advice given to young Steve by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell: “Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume that you are.” Now without that sleeve of wisdom being imbibed and executed to perfection I may not have been typing this blog today on a MacBook Pro or any computer at all. The wonders of faking it never ceases to amaze and I sure do have a lot to learn about the peculiar earth-born genus called homo.