How About Doing It Right Instead?

Forests have been felled for the sake of books on how to acquire self-confidence. I do not think, however, that any of these involve acquiring self-confidence by meriting it. “Be what you would like to seem”, said Socrates, whereupon humanity reversed the polarity and set out to seem as vigorously as ever it could.

Self-help books seem always to be about ignoring reality in favour of some kind of willed delusionality, which it is hoped will be contagious. What is supposed to give me confidence is not being good at what I do, but merely the intensity of my self-belief. And this is to be created, it seems, by pure introspection rather than by improving my game. Basically, I do not enhance my abilities but sit in a corner and whip up this self-belief. I then become that most dangerous of all possible employees or managers – the person with a delusion of competence.

This is probably why so many new solutions simply do not work, and why so many projects collapse in ignominy. The old rag-trade joke of “Never mind the quality, feel the width” has given way to “Never mind the quality, feel my conceit”.

Posted on March 13, 2010 at 20:06 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, Management As Cargo Cult

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