Advertising
Advertising

5 Common Misconceptions That Make You a Dumbass

5 Common Misconceptions That Make You a Dumbass

Today’s world is inundated with useless and often contradictory information. The act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct was classified in George Orwell’s masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four, as “doublethink”: this fictional phenomena is the opposite of what modern psychologists call “cognitive dissonance”, where holding two or more conflicting ideas can cause real-life frustration, hunger, dread, guilt, anger, embarrassment, or anxiety. In order to clear the path of enquiry and begin to harmonize your thoughts with reality, here is a list of common misconceptions that often give the author headaches.

5. Even the common hippie will tell you that humans do not have just five senses.

Although definitions vary, the actual number ranges from nine to two dozen (whoa). In addition to sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing (Aristotelian senses), humans can sense balance and acceleration, pain, body and limb position, and relative temperature. Sometimes the senses of time, itching, pressure, hunger, thirst, fullness of the stomach, need to urinate, and need to defecate are also considered.

It’s important to exercise each of your senses as much as possible:put down the phone and look at things closely, or close your eyes altogether and listen to your surroundings!

Advertising

4. While it’s comforting to imagine that his genius only bloomed later in life, Albert Einstein did not fail mathematics in school.

Upon being shown a column claiming this fact, Einstein said, “I never failed in mathematics… Before I was fifteen I had mastered differential and integral calculus.” Einstein did however disagree with the school’s teaching method, and later wrote that the spirit of learning and creative thought were lost in rote learning. The myth may have originated because Einstein failed his first entrance exam into Federal Polytechnic School in 1895, although at the time he was two years younger than his fellow students and did exceedingly well in mathematics and science.

Einstein wasn’t perfect: he focused on his strengths and followed through with them, ultimately becoming a symbol of genius and changing the way we think about time and space forever.

3. Bad or bored habits can spiral out of control, but at least cracking one’s knuckles does not cause osteoarthritis.

In fact, cracking a joint that has been exercised recently is generally recognized to relieve pain. To further debunk this misconception, doctor Donald Unger cracked the knuckles of his left hand every day for more than sixty years, but he did not crack the knuckles of his right hand. No arthritis or other ailments formed in either hand. He was awarded 2009’s Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Advertising

If you’re struggling with a habit—however innocuous—try to become aware of when you catch yourself in the act; many habits and addictions naturally resolve over time, but self-awareness is the most important step in breaking compulsive behaviors.

2. People do not use only ten percent of their brains.

While it is true that a small minority of neurons in the brain are actively firing at any one time, the inactive neurons are just as important, and may provide an answer to how diverse regions of the brain collaborate to form conscious experiences—one of the greatest mysteries in neuroscience. The misconception that we only use a small percentage of our brain has been commonplace in American culture as far back as the start of the 20th century, and speaks for the large number of unanswered questions we have about the human brain and its myriad functions.

This is an classic example of the human desire to have an answer to everything (even if the answer is wrong): our brains seek to harmonize the experience we’ve gathered over time with the incredible amount of information we receive; when it can’t, cognitive dissonance clouds our mind and can cause physical and emotional damage.

Advertising

1. The word ‘theory’ in the theory of evolution does not imply mainstream scientific doubt regarding its validity.

The concepts of theory and hypothesis have specific meanings in a scientific context. Evolution does not attempt to explain the origin of life or the origin and development of the universe, and does not necessarily nullify a God. While biological evolution describes the process by which species and other levels of biological organization originate, and ultimately leads all life forms back to a universal common ancestor, it is not primarily concerned with the origin of life itself. Also, humans did not develop from chimpanzees, but a common ancestor (both humans and chimpanzees have since evolved markedly).

Accepting evolution can be helpful in facing difficult challenges that arise naturally in the course of life: change is a constant force that we must live with, no matter how cruel or beautiful life may seem.

P.S. Humans and dinosaurs never coexisted.

Advertising

More by this author

5 Reasons Why Diets Fail 4 Tricks for Twitter Marketing 5 Ways to Become a Better Reader 7 WARNING Signs You’re Addicted to Technology 5 Common Misconceptions That Make You a Dumbass

Trending in Communication

1 10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively 2 How To Be Happy Alone and Enjoy Life 3 What Is Self-Worth and How to Recognize Yours 4 How to Build Self Esteem (A Guide to Realize Your Hidden Power) 5 Why an Attitude of Gratitude Is Essential (And How to Develop It)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

Advertising

2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

Advertising

If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

Advertising

Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

Advertising

10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

Read Next