‘Attitudes are more important than facts’

A colleague at work once told me a story about his mother. She was in a care home at the time and was getting a bit confused, possibly in part because of the drugs she was on, but she didn’t always know what was happening. He went to visit her regularly and, on this oneContinue reading “‘Attitudes are more important than facts’”

Dunning Kruger

The ‘Dunning-Kruger effect’ describes a cognitive bias which results in incompetent people mistakenly believing they are much more capable than they are. The Wikipedia entry explains that ‘people suffering from the effect: tend to overestimate their own level of skill fail to recognize genuine skill in others and fail to recognize the ‘extremity of theirContinue reading “Dunning Kruger”

Underthinking

Some of us suffer from overthinking. We think long and hard about things, blow them up out of all proportion until they become impossibly complicated, to the point of overwhelming us, sometimes before we’ve even got started. There is a lot written on the topic and many people freely admit to struggling against this badContinue reading “Underthinking”

Shy decorator

Some time ago I got a firm in to decorate a couple of rooms that needed sprucing up. The decorator himself was a shy, very quiet little Irishman. He hardly spoke a word and answered my questions in mumbled monosyllables. But he was a great decorator. He was obsessive and perfectionist, making every effort toContinue reading “Shy decorator”

Nice guys finish last

We have all heard the expression ‘Nice guys finish last’. Well, I guess that could be right (although some dispute it), but there are two parts to that equation – ‘where we finish’ and ‘being nice’, and, in life, we get ‘points’ for both those things. So, we should all try to finish as highContinue reading “Nice guys finish last”

Riding a bicycle

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”  Albert Einstein We need to keep going, that’s the most important thing, pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone to tackle the next challenge. If not, we get bored. That’s how it works. We need to push ourselves, but not tooContinue reading “Riding a bicycle”

On being polite (again)

If four cars approach a roundabout at the same time from four different directions, you do not want them all to carry on straight ahead at full speed and cause a great big pile up. On the other hand, you do not want them all to stop, each waiting for what seems like an ageContinue reading “On being polite (again)”

Hollow confidence

When I was at university (some years ago) there was one class that was dominated by a handful of opinionated English public-school (i.e. fee-paying school) boys whose confidence was completely out of proportion to the value of their contribution. They talked loudly and without hesitation on topics they clearly knew very little about. Maybe it’sContinue reading “Hollow confidence”

Raining on someone else’s parade

There is a joke that Mexicans tell about themselves: An American businessman is on holiday in Mexico and, as he is walking along the beach, he passes a Mexican fisherman with his catch of crabs in an open bucket. “You should put a lid on that,” says the American, “or the crabs will climb out.”Continue reading “Raining on someone else’s parade”

A courage for gaps

Most of us would agree on the importance of thinking things through properly before we act. Thinking time ensures detailed, thorough and sometimes creative solutions. The more important the decision, the more consideration it deserves. But, at a certain point we need to stop deliberating and we need to find the courage to act. EvenContinue reading “A courage for gaps”

The power of ‘maybe not’

Our client was faced with a dilemma. Two of its best salespeople had an idea for a new business. But the idea was terrible … The thinking behind the new concept was jumbled, confused and incoherent. The plan could not possibly work. But the two budding entrepreneurs had absolute faith in their idea, so hadContinue reading “The power of ‘maybe not’”

The devil and the angel

We have a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. The devil is encouraging us to push ahead regardless and ignore what anyone else thinks; and the angel is telling us we should listen to others and hold back. Except that the devil is sometimes right and the angel sometimes wrong. That’sContinue reading “The devil and the angel”

The power of ‘no’

I need a job where the core skill is to be cynical. That is my real expertise – finding the reasons ‘why not’; identifying all the downsides. It’s a skill I have honed over many years. Unfortunately, most jobs call for people to take a more balanced approach – to weigh up the pros andContinue reading “The power of ‘no’”