You're not entitled to your own science

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I wrapped up my 10 Ways to Be a Better Learner series recently with an exhortation to “Embrace Responsibility.” Seth Godin has since published two new posts that I think tie very well into the relationship between learning and responsibility.

In the first of these, Marketing of the placebo: Everyone gets their own belief, Seth notes the universal tendency for human beings to believe fervently in the truth of things which actually are not true. Placebos – harmless substances substituted for real medicine in clinical trials and other scientific testing – are a telling example of this phenomenon. While technically of no medical value, countless tests have demonstrated that placebos have power nonetheless simply because people who take them without knowing any better often believe they work.

And so it also goes with incorrect and even harmful ideas.

The second of these two posts, Run your own race, looks at the issue of influence through the lens of competition. As motivating and seemingly positive as competition can be, it often leads to our actions being based more on the influence of others than our own motivations and ideas.

Now, placebos have their place. And certainly, as I have noted before, we do want to seek positive sources of influence. But we need to check the facts. We need to guard against unearned and unproductive influence. As Seth puts it,”everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but they’re not entitled to their own science.”

Bottom line: We need to act consciously and take responsibility for our learning.


P.S. – Paid for by Jeff Cobb and the Mission to Learn Blog. I take full responsibility for the information and opinions conveyed in this blog post. 😉

P.S.S. – I am working on expanding the 10 Ways to Be a Better Learner Series into an eBook. I welcome any thoughts you have on any part of the series.

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