Saturday, March 12, 2011

How to always be right.

Never take an opinionated stance on anything.

It's just that simple, but the problem is that you are not going to make money with such an approach.

Imagine if the news was just facts, then it wouldn't sell. Celebrity gossip sells like hotcakes, but a balanced emotion-less discussion of pros and cons of economic theory wouldn't sell at all. Push an agenda, then you'll get fanatics and make some money. This is why I'm not a politician/reporter, nor do I have aspiration to be one.

I was going to write a book on computer science called "It depends" and just write about all the stupid shit we do in the industry. Problematically, if we all suddenly understood and cared about the pros and cons, then we would work together and cut the work force by 90% and make 10% of our salaries. That would suck. Fortunately, the world is insane, and the pros and cons turn into a competition.

That being said, being right is surprisingly easy. The key is knowing as many pros and cons as possible beforehand and simply judging based on relevancy to the people it affects. I hinted at the philosophy that I've constructed for myself in an answer on quora.

If you apply this methodically and try to put emotions on the back burner, then you will only find yourself wrong in two situations.

When new knowledge is presented, and a new basis vector is discovered. This is when you have to seriously think and incorporate it into your relevancy equation or concede. This is a good way to learn new perspectives in the world.

Now, the other situation is purely political. Some people hate being wrong and hate changing their mind, and they will fight. I recommend just avoiding these people in life as life is too short to deal will closed-minded people. Now, this isn't you being wrong, this is the other person making you wrong especially if they can (i.e. your client, your boss, your co-workers, your spouse).

That being said, you can surprise people using new points of view and take people out of an one-sided debate and make it a discussion. For instance, when I was back on campus, some people came up to me as they wanted to share their faith with me. My friends know that I have no faith as I am a robot (actually, I invented my own religion, but that's an aside I'll share when I try to sell it... it's going to make super-super rich).

Here is how the conversation went.

Them: "We wanted to discuss your faith, what do you believe in?"

Me: "Money"

Them: "..."

/* note: I doubt anyone on a campus has ever given that answer */

Me: "I believe money is a side-effect from wealth, and building wealth creates jobs and makes life better for everyone."

Them: "Well, what happens when you die?"

Me: "Well, I hope the businesses I build continue on without me or someone puts them out of business with something better."

Them: "What happens to you?"

Me: "I don't know, but I don't really care anymore since what will happen will happen."

Them: "So, have you heard of Jesus?"

Me: "Yes, he was an awesome salesman. I know an awesome salesman too named Marc."

Them: "But, "

Me: "Let me stop you right there, who is paying you to sell me on your religion?"

Them: "No one"

Me: "That's awesome, I wish I could get college kids to work for me for free as I got lots of stuff to sell"

Them: "But we are not salesmen"

Me: "Sure you are"

Them: "But, salesmen sell a product, we are trying to help you."

Me: "If I have a lot of dirt on my floor, then a salesmen will help me with that problem by selling my a vacuum cleaner. You just don't understand your product yet. Your product is an answer to the question 'what happens why I die?' that you tend to ask yourself sometimes before you go to bed."

Them: "..."

Me: "See, the way I look at it, Islam and Christianity are just like Pepsi and Coke. They are products. Now, I don't have consumers digest to help me pick, and I've heard lots of bug reports from both sides. Personally, I'd rather just avoid the issue and do something else with my time"

Them: "... umm"

At this point, the conversation became small talk about my shoes and nothing important. They walked away visibly confused. The point I'm trying to make is that I brought up a point they have never considered before, and that basically confused them.

I don't really have a point to this article, but I wanted to share the story and talk about my philosophy. While I do enjoy being right, I enjoy learning more.

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