People don't really want to learn - instead they want this

I have been blogging 8 years. You'd think I know what is popular and what will get people clicking and talking. And you'd be right in a small way, because I know a little, and this is what I know:

My most popular post of all time is THIS one. The amount of original writing is limited. The insights are arbitrary and, dare I say it, relatively shallow and somewhat cliched. But it has a killer headline that seduces people to click.

My next best post (on LinkedIn) is THIS one. It has a quarter of the views, but 10 X the number of thumbs up! It is certainly a much better post than the previous one, but it is not particularly deep - and if you read it you will immediately grasp the obvious lesson/message it contains.

THIS post is much better than any of the above. It is actually useful and contains a powerful, foundational insight that can be translated (and used) into any business challenge. It has below average views, and 2 likes.

Add to the above the following observation:
Watch and observe the follow of 'updates' on social media platforms. Whether it is Twitter or LinkedIn or whatever, the most popular posts are:

  • An image - with a (unoriginal) quote
  • A recipe that promises a quick solution in X number of steps
  • A wild promise to make someone better at (leadership, personal branding, productivity - fill in the blank)
  • A shortcut to achieving some type of superficial success (be more popular, get more followers, etc)

From what I have learned about people's online behaviours, I can say this quite unequivocally:

  1. People don't really want to learn, they want a shortcut.
  2. People don't want to think, they want to be reminded of what they know.
  3. People don't' want to work at figuring something out, wrestle with an application - but want it given to them.
  4. People don't actually grow their own purpose through self-reflection, they want to follow the crowd.
  5. People invariably mistake the obvious for the truth.
  6. Almost everybody reading this will think the above don't apply to them.

OUR GRAND ERROR OF JUDGMENT:
Words of Wisdom are seen as wise if everyone else previously agreed that those words are wise. Business advice is taken from people who are perceived to have been successful.

The TRUTH is that words of advice may be true or untrue irrespective of the past record of the person speaking them. The truth is the truth, no matter where it comes from. Someone who has spoken a past truth does not necessarily have a monopoly on the truth; it can come from anywhere - even from a child.

Taking advice from someone who has succeeded in business (or anything) is actually rationally not the smartest thing that you can do. They may have tried once or twice and succeeded wildly and admirably. Good for them. But that means they have not gone to school on that particular challenge.

Here is the thing though:

  • Because they have succeeded at one thing does not mean they will succeed again.
  • Because they have succeeded in their way, does not mean it is relevant to your situation.
  • Because they have succeed, does not mean they understand why they succeeded because they may actually not have the self-awareness or the understanding of the true factors of success.
  • Because they succeeded, they don't know what causes failures.

If ANYONE had the real secret or recipe, we would have no more failures. Polio may have been eradicated, but failure hasn't; because there is no antidote to failure.
 

This post is an extract from our previous newsletter. Explore the archives and see if you would like to get it in future direct to your inbox.