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The Sameness Illusion

The Sameness Illusion

    Today I read an opinion that I didn’t understand, criticizing the media for not understanding a study. So I read that study. I didn’t understand it. And I still have an opinion. Because this is the Internet, damn it.

    The topic of the study is whether or not the amount of time a mother spends with a kid matters to the outcome. Seems important to know, right?

    Maybe not.

    It might be better NOT knowing the truth in this case. Because the truth is about an average. And no individual is average.

    If you tell mothers that the average mom does X to get a good result, peer pressure causes all moms to do X, or to feel guilty for not. Even if it kills the kid. Music lessons are a valuable learning experience for some kids and torture for others.

    What are the odds that one flavor of parenting will be the right fit for every culture, every kid, every parent, and every situation? I’m going to say zero. 

    Let’s try this experiment: If your kids are well-behaved and mine are not, let’s switch kids for a month and see what happens. Will your awesome parenting fix them? Good luck with that, sucker!

    The sameness illusion is what makes most management fads start out smart and morph into pure ridiculousness. The thing that worked for Apple is not necessarily going to work for… well, anyone else. 

    Career advice has the same limitation. I could tell you every trick I used to become a famous cartoonist but it would not help you become one. You and I are different people in different times and different circumstances. Your strategy needs to be crafted for your situation.

    ————- In other news ————-

    Cyborg rats with brain implants are here! But let’s not make cyborg rats that are too smart, okay? That has trouble written all over it.

    And how about the self-driving car that went across the country 99% unaided? Maybe it’s just me, but I have lots of questions about the 1%.

    And finally someone is making a running boot that does some of the running for you. But only 7% of it. I can’t wait for them to get the other 93% done so I can do some serious sleep walking.


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    My book on success: “I feel the best I have ever felt after reading a book.” –  Puget Sound Paralegal  (Amazon 5-star review Feb 20, 2015)

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