Rule of thumb: where a few loud voices drown out the majority, the best place to start is with data. But before we decide how to respond to, or worse still, succumb to, those few loud voices, let’s grace ourselves with a moment of silence, to just think.
I saw a photo surface on social media recently with Investor Mark Bouris as the background photo and written on it, ‘you don’t need a licence to use your brain’.
Love it. So straight up.
Cuts out the BS early in the piece, so we can be accountable for ourselves and have a better conversation from there.
A lot of content we see online feels so influential in its delivery – like its ‘right!’ – but if you didn’t use your brain or real data to get to the point being made, how do you know it’s ‘right’. Often without thinking, we’re subconsciously absorbing all these theories and ideas of others, as fact. We simply take it at face value. As if it’s gospel, but it may be nothing than a foundation-less opinion.
By this point, we’ve all been warned to query media, query ideas, and not to believe everything we see, but it’s an age-old adage that deserves a reminder.
Because with a fun coined term, from the ‘great resignation’ to ‘burnout’ and ‘quiet quitting’ comes a query as to whether any of them were ever real, or just nice turn of phrase. We learnt that The Great Resignation never really existed in the Australian work context, and was a concept borrowed from our friends in the USA.
The contentious human behaviour in an online forum can easily be appropriated into the workplace as ‘normal’. Narratives can support our collective psyche because the ideas feel relatability to our emotions and existence at a moment in time. In the workplace, where emotions can be contagious, it pays to pause and make up your mind for yourself.
In any and every space that creates a community, be it our workplace, sporting group, or online, shared opinions and beliefs convolute conversations and can quickly create an opaque world, where smoke and mirrors – and unfounded opinions – are here to fog our true reality.
Before we too quickly succumb to the headline that we see in front of us, do the required digging to create your own thoughts.
You might even see it when you click on the expand button of a comment section for pop culture, I’ll give you the example headline:
This is not to say that’s newsworthy news, because even the best of us have a burning sensation to shut down from reading this, but it’s the comments that love to say:
‘who is this?’ or ‘who cares’.
It’s commentary we can easily refrain from, and it’s probably better just keeping it to ourselves, but we add for reasons unknown, – maybe just to feel heard.
The critique is perfectly fine, but when the verbiage used is quite literally the same thing, the concern grows on how few executive functions were applied to type the comment up.
The reality is that just mimicking the next person isn’t really adding any value. Social psychology will tell us that the bandwagon effect (otherwise known as a herd mentality) means you may even override your own thinking to align yourself to what everyone else is doing or saying.
For the most part, it’s fine to walk on by. Say nothing. Let it go.
But we also know it’s the tolerance of cynical mindsets, gossip-y chats, and unhealthy interactions that hinder progress and growth, with the workplace being just one example of a prime breeding-ground for this behaviour.
So, how do we walk past it?
Push, push. push onwards.
Just 3 things:
- Pause and reflect
- Query and then take different action
Essentially err to the side of finding a solution, rather than adding in the nothingness of inane opining.
We know that the same people asking ‘who’ at every celebrity article, is going to get another celebrity article. What our algorithm says about us, is also how we approach and engage with the world. The same goes with our mindset, and what we believe the world to be. Because ultimately, we get what we believe in.
If you believe in finding the solution, join us on the journey.
Push to be creative and push to find solutions.
Real insights, real data, real information that cuts through rhetoric of others to achieve a reasonable and pragmatic voice on a topic – a rhetoric that is completely your own. Sure, get inspiration from others, but pause, reflect and query. What do we really know?
Then try and find a better way. Solve a different problem. Take a different action.
Even without that license, engage your brain and think of alternatives.
And repeat it so often, that that becomes you habit.
Pause and reflect.
Query and take a different action.
The value you might add, lies not in mindless mimicking, but in doing the digging where the information is missing, the gap in knowledge where dots can’t be connected. That’s where the real wisdom, and the real possibilities live.
Even more, that’s where we get real influence and the ability to make things better.
To make a difference.