Not so long ago I wrote a post where a commenter took me to take on my understanding of neuroscience, implying that I did not really ‘get’ it. (Note the date: 18th March 2013.) And she said explicitly that my knowledge was based on a pop-science book by Cialdini. She could not be further from the truth, so after a bit of to and fro, I eventually let it ride.
Here are a few facts:
- I did indeed read Cialdini’s book – the 2001 edition (acquired c2007 – some six years before the current hype-cycle) is dog-eared on my desk as I write this. But preceding that Ganador had build a sales training product (Sell$mart) using the principles of Neuroscience. We had carefully distilled the research and created a framework that we could train (and test and monitor) on the sales floor.
- I subscribe to the original journals via my connections with University of Wollongong.
- I do have doctorate in the subject I think I am better qualified than most to assess the state of this discipline, but despite an apparent academic foundation, I am hugely sceptical of most research that is conducted – and am on record.
I think my commenter is blindly accepting the gospel of Neuroscience, but I am not overly impressed with the quality of the research being conducted in the field Neuroscience.
In many respects Neuroscience is only a small advance in the right direction away from Phrenology. In fact, Scientific American said ‘Neuroscience gets an F for reliability’. (Note the date: April 10th, 2013.)
Neuroscientists eager for tenure also use the press very cleverly and the under-resourced journos are guilty of perpetuating myths that become entrencehd in our received wisdom.
For instance, most people would believe most (if not all) of these.
- The “left-brain” is rational, the “right-brain” is creative
- Dopamine is a pleasure chemical
- Low serotonin causes depression
- Video games, TV violence, porn or any other social spectre of the moment “rewires the brain”
- We have no control over our brain but we can control our mind
NONE of those are true.
The point I want to make here is that qualifications and experience, no matter how ‘impressive’, are no guarantee of veracity or validity. Not even of my views.
I would like to challenge you to think about how you process advice - even what appears to be very sound advice.
The problem with the internet is of course that is indeed a shallow pool. There are different types of ‘advice’ served up via blogs, newspapers, books and consultants directly.
The challenge for the business owner is to distinguish between the types of advice, understand the source of the advice and the agenda of the advice-giver.
And the only one that can decide is YOU!
No one has the answer, we just have a better (or worse) answer and it is the personal responsibility of the reader to process the advice/ideas/conversation and to make sense of it.
That is; it is YOUR responsibility to process the information you are presented with. Reading things you may potentially learn form are only useful if you learn something – even if it is what NOT to do, or to keep doing something despite suggestions to the contrary.
We live in an age where data is abundant and information is free; but knowledge is (and always will be a scarce commodity because it requires thinking.
If you accept the responsibility to critically evaluate the information you are presented with and make your own decisions you will have real, sustainable competitive advantage.