Business Poison

The Poison Of Certainty

The more I look for it, the more I seem to find instances of people stating, with absolute certainty, what will or won’t ‘ever’ happen.

Look at TV companies stating that there will “always be TV” or music companies stating that there will “always be record labels”. How about that there will “always be vinyl records” or that people will “always read paper books”?

These statements assume total knowledge of all future scenarios.

Actually I suspect the correct interpretation is, “I cannot imagine a time when…” or “I have no reason to believe that…” But people like certainties, explanations and tangibles.

People like to speak and listen to assured advice. It’s far easier to accept things if they are compartmentalised and well presented. The unpredictable is often seen as dangerous and threatening although I believe the main danger and threat is any level of assumptive certainty. That’s the killer – that’s the risk.

The next time you hear someone state that something will always exist, or never change; ask yourself how on earth they could know the future with such certainty? The past and the present have nothing to do with it. So what can you go on? Intuition? Luck? Guesswork? Yes, it’s awkward to do business without assured futures, so keeping sensory agility is critical.

I’m certain it always will be.


Taken from Business Poison - see 'books' on the menu.