My favourite human interest podcast 99 Percent Invisible did a crossover episode called cautionary tales. They talk about how in an effort to make things better, you can actually make things worse. The concept was discovered by Galileo when he tried to find the correct way of storing a stone column. He added an extra support to be sure that it would stay safe only for the very addition to be the cause of damage. The episode talks about a few other instances where something small and meant to help ended up causing the same if not a bigger problem than it was meant to solve.
My challenge for the year was to create a long term plan around me in spite of and in light of the new world order. I get excited by learning something new and I easily fall into a rabbit hole of figuring things out. When you read Napoleon Hill, he really does not like people who run around sharing their opinions on everything. I shared that I am reading Think and Grow Rich and Napoleon Hill poses that a big factor of your success is experience, education and imagination. None of this says your opinion is useful. In fact, how he poses it is that your opinion is very likely going to be a part of your downfall.
“Opinions are the cheapest commodities on earth. Everyone has a flock of opinions ready to be wished upon anyone who will accept them. If you are influenced by “opinions” when you reach DECISIONS, you will not succeed in any undertaking.”Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century
In my workplace, one of my biggest tasks is to convince people to grow their personal brands online and that means using social media. The biggest fear of course is Twitter (insert ominous music). Twitter is so full of opinions and I am guilty of basing some bits of knowledge on the majority of content on my page. Until you realise that only 4 million out of our 50 million population is on Twitter. That’s a small sample size to set popular opinion. With that said, the taxman said that 5 million Kenyans filed their tax returns by the deadline of 30th June. That is some interesting bit of information to analyse and contrast, how the few influence the majority.
Back to the fear of Twitter, the fear is based on how Twitter is full of opinions and constant war between those who agree to a certain set of opinions versus those who have even the slightest contrarian view. Everyone has an opinion on how interns should be paid, how government should run, how lawyers should speak and what marketing really is. Many of these experts are not the actual professions in the field or going through the challenge that is so opinioned about.
Most workplaces require self-driven and motivated individuals at a basic, then putting you in positions that can eventually grow you into a leadership role. When you lead you to want to be sure that you are doing the right thing. I talked about how leadership will push you to work outside of your passion because it’s about managing people (Plugging Into My Inner Vitruvian Worker). Being in a leadership position means having to make decisions on things that you are not good at or even know about. So, in a world driven by personal opinions, sitting in a position that needs your own on different subject matters, at what point do you know if your opinion does not qualify as your expertise?
“The leaders in every walk of life decide quickly, and firmly. That is the major reason why they are leaders. The world has the habit of making room for the man whose words and actions show that he knows where he is going.”Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
Napoleon says a good leader is one who is quick to make a decision and slow to change their mind on it. How do you make a quick decision especially when it’s a difficult one? In the last year and a half, we have all had to do things we did not envision ourselves doing for a while yet. Some brave decisions, some fearful ones. Then how to stick to your decision? I like to think and make an effort to make my decisions from a point of knowledge. The thing with opinions is that it tends to come from a very narrow pool of information and yet to be tested. Isn’t that why we always finish with “But that’s just my opinion/what I think.”?
I find that I am comforted by my decisions, whether wrong or right when I have taken the time to assess what I need to do. Just like Napoleon says, when you make a decision and stick to it, even when it seems to have been a wrong decision, having clarity as to your destination will make things work out.
“Put your foot upon the neck of the fear of criticism by reaching a decision not to worry about what other people think, do, or say.”Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
So, you need to make a major life choice, you want to take your writing to the next level, ask for a promotion in the middle of a pandemic, maybe even change jobs. Napoleon says make it quick, make it clear and stick to it. I will add on his message on desire- want that decision to come to pass no matter what. All the best!!!