Each weekday through Xmas I’m releasing another Not Sucking Tip. One of the most difficult parts of life is not sucking at everything. Are you worried you might suck at something, most things, or everything? Do you want to do something about that? Well, if your answer was “No,” to the question above, worry no more: You do suck at everything. If you’re answer was. “Yes,” you probably don’t have quite so much to worry about, but I have, as something of an expert at (figurative) sucking at things, put together this guide for your perusal. There is no 10 Tips for Being Good at Everything, and anyone who tells you different is selling something. You’ll notice, I hope, that most of them have to do with how you interact with other people, and I hope the implications of that will sink in. 

CotM 10 Tips 1 Pay Att

1. Pay Attention

For example, did you notice the title? This is not a collection of tips for being good at things, this is a collection of tips for not sucking. So pay attention, take the time to understand what you’re looking at. Actually pausing to think about the words that are entering your brain is a very important skill, and one that we are trained against doing throughout our entire scholastic careers. I’m not kidding about that: there is a direct correlation between your level of education and how likely you are to believe something without questioning it. We’re trained to absorb information as quickly as possible, and learning to process it is an afterthought. After all, authority is much easier to wield when no one asks questions.

English: stamp with the words "Fail"...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Knowing this gives you an advantage. First, you can train yourself to really consider what you’re told. When encountering new information, you should consider a few of the following questions:

  • Does this seem reasonable?
  • How does this relate to what I already know?
  • Does this make sense in that context? If not, which is more questionable?
  • For what purpose am I being given this information?
  • What are two or three implications of this new information?
  • Do I trust the person giving it?
  • Who do I know that could benefit from or provide a new context for this information?

These are just to start you out. The real point is that your immediate reaction to new information should not be simply to internalize it as true, but to consider the source, implications, veracity, and context of that information. Then figure out how you can leverage it to create some sort of advantage. To be fair, this is always to your advantage, because beyond avoiding being made a fool of, you develop a more complete understanding than those around you with the exact same abilities and education who just take that information and run with it. We live in the Information Age, where information is free and freely available at the click of a few buttons. What is known by anyone can be known by everyone in an instant. The only thing you can bring to the table in the modern world that a smart phone can’t is originality. . . and if you can be replaced by a phone, well, you suck.

Next up, we’re going to move into the fantastical realm of a world that doesn’t revolve entirely around you, and discuss how to best interact with people. Come back Monday, or, better yet, Subscribe/Follow!

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