There is no shortage of ideas in the world today. Truth is, there never has been a shortage of ideas in the world. The difference today is we have the technology to spread those ideas far beyond our tribes, villages, towns, and cities. I believe this is ultimately a good thing. After all, diversity of thought and the sharing of ideas is at the heart of human progress. BUT…Progress has never been, nor will it ever be, a smooth ride. Thanks to these technological advancements, the dissemination of ideas is made possible at scale. I celebrate that, but I also recognize that with ideas at scale…well, there’s a whole lot of bad ones in the mix. So the question we have to ask is, “How do we spot a truly bad idea?” Here's three ways to do just that:
- The idea leaves no room for debate or critique. In other words, any challenge to the accepted dogma means you’re the enemy, a traitor, and must be shut down.
- The idea speaks in terms of urgency and absolute certainty. With instant access to information, we’ve also become a much more reactionary society. Opinions are formed too quickly, and before all the facts are in, the narratives are set and the lines are drawn.
- The idea blatantly ignores context. This is the willful discarding of key details in a story that are, let’s say, “inconvenient.” When an idea leads with a definitive conclusion based on limited information and lacking an appreciation for nuance, then you’ve hit the jackpot.
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