On the Shoulders of Giants

by Brian SperonelloIcon

Beware: "That's What I Would Do"

"Put the article about [the famous pop-star] at the top. That's what I would be most interested in," he said.

I politely tried to explain how a different post, about a quirky science discovery, had gotten more attention from the audience that this e-mail was being sent to. He didn't get it.

Be careful whenever you hear yourself using phrases like "That’s what I would do." If you're expressing an opinion, that's one thing, but too often these words mean someone is taking their own beliefs and defining the rest of the world according to them.

The rest of the world is not just like you.

In fact, I'd bet that in most cases what we would do is drastically different from what the majority would do. There is an enormous amount of variation in people's worldviews, and more often than not your beliefs wind up falling into the minority.

The only solution to this is observation. Instead of judging the success of your creations solely based on your personal expectations and sense of aesthetics, observe them after they've been created to judge their effect and try to learn from it. Just because you would click on the article about the pop-star first doesn't mean your audience will.

Continually test your assumptions. Regularly try ideas that run counter to your intuition, but also show promise, rather than blindly extrapolating your views on to the rest of the world. Remember — more often than not your beliefs wind up falling into the minority rather than the majority.

This post stands on the shoulders of:

Ryan Holiday: Self-Absorbtion

Tim Ferriss - Testing and self-experimentation (See his book The 4-Hour Body)


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