Sunday Wisdom No. 52
People don’t back you because you are right. They back you because you’ve got a backbone.
Welcome to Issue 52!
I rarely do this, but I was on an internet forum a few days back where this person was talking about why he was unable to do anything meaningful for quite a few days because his work got rejected.
Rejections hurt. But it only does because we give too much value to somebody’s opinion. In any creative field, it is almost impossible to satisfy everybody. No matter how good a book is, it has a number of one-star reviews.
Rejection is just somebody’s opinion; nothing more.
Creators always face rejection. If you aren’t getting rejections you are not creating. You are not challenging the status quo. You are playing safe. Creators take risk. They explore unknown territories. The best of them face the worst of rejections.
The best way to become immune to rejections is to have so many of them so frequently that they stop to matter. Creators conjure up things out of nothing. These things, unlike rejections are permanent.
Hi, I’m Abhishek. Welcome to Sunday Wisdom. Each week, I’ll introduce you to multidisciplinary wisdom—in the form of original essays, bite-sized lessons, book reviews, article recommendations, quotes, and more. If you are loving Sunday Wisdom, consider buying me a coffee, becoming a patron, or sharing this link with friends.
People don’t back you because you are right. They back you because you’ve got a backbone. It doesn’t matter if you are right or wrong. What matter is that you have skin in the game. You stand up for what you believe in. You are not number one. What matters is you are a Category of One.
🎙 SUNDAY MEETS
A recent WSJ article talked about how Facebook violated its own policy guidelines and didn’t take down posts with hate speeches by Indian politicians belonging to the ruling BJP party.
This led to a lot of debates, videos, articles that have blamed Facebook for a lot of things—for being politically biased, for not being socially responsible, for giving into its capitalistic goals, and more.
In this episode of Sunday Meets my friend Chinmoy and I (Abhishek) talk about various aspects of this case and try to think of ways issues like these can be tackled.
We discuss four ways ranging from personal measures to Govt. policies to help us deal with misinformation, fake news, hate speech, and the likes.
💡 WHAT I’M THINKING ABOUT
In a hypercompetitive world, it is infinitely more productive to ask, “How am I different from someone?” instead of, “How do I stack up compared to someone?” There’s a lot more to be learned from contrast than comparison—about ourselves and others.
🥬 FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“We’re like sailors on a ship that long ago left port and now urgently needs repair. We’d love to return to dock and get it kitted out perfectly — setting up our lives so they’re just as we’d like them — then start the journey again. Instead we have to patch things up mid-voyage as best we can, adapting incrementally towards the people we’d like to be.”
“One of the most pervasive examples of this kind of blindness is one that I haven’t seen mentioned explicitly. I’m going to call it orthodox privilege: The more conventional-minded someone is, the more it seems to them that it’s safe for everyone to express their opinions.”
“I would advise you to take even simpler, or as you say, humbler, problems until you find some you can really solve easily, no matter how trivial. You will get the pleasure of success, and of helping your fellow man, even if it is only to answer a question in the mind of a colleague less able than you. You must not take away from yourself these pleasures because you have some erroneous idea of what is worthwhile.”
“Following the end of World War 2, these four psychologists were interested in finding out what had motivated so many supposedly ordinary citizens in Germany (and elsewhere in Europe) to participate in the awful designs of the fascist regimes that had taken hold there. This is what they found out…”
“In the last half-century, the global production of meat has undergone a seismic shift. While meat was once mostly raised on small farms, today almost all the meat we eat comes from industrialised “factory” farms which are ideal environments for virus and bacteria mutations that human immune systems have never seen.”
📚 BOOK WORTH READING
James O’Brien is a British radio presenter where he listens to people phoning him everyday and blaming benefits scroungers, the EU, Muslims, feminists and immigrants for whatever is wrong with the country and the world.
In How To Be Right, James provides a hilarious and invigorating guide to talking to people with faulty opinions. With chapters on every lightning-rod issue, James shows how people have been fooled into thinking the way they do, and in each case outlines the key questions to ask to reveal fallacies, inconsistencies and double standards.
The reason why conversations like this are simultaneously so frustrating and revealing is that people like him have lost the desire to question what they are being told. Their bespoke, unchallenged diet of ‘news’, augmented we now know by Facebook algorithms and deliberately fake stories, is so unvaried that the possibility that it might be largely bogus is never entertained.
It’s a pretty solid reminder to question your assumptions before forming them. Unfortunately, it isn’t so easy. The least you can do is do the work required to form an opinion before getting into arguments and debates.
🐦 TWEET WORTH MENTIONING
The best way to heal a sick education system is to empower parents so they can help their children to learn for themselves. This will save them time, money and energy.
👋 That’s All!