The average person today is struggling with a complex world and looking for tried and tested ways to make difficult decisions. Over the course of years I have had many opportunities to watch people grapple with hard problems. From that experience I have distilled a short list of rules that I have seen employed over and over again. I hope such a list will be helpful to others.
The reader should be encouraged by the fact that these rules are indeed ones we all use to solve our problems—from the highest officials in the land to the felon who lives down the block. This is easily verified by watching the news or listening to your neighbors.
To be sure, this is only a partial list. However it may easily be expanded by observing how we really think when we are not paying attention to what we think.
Foresight and Vision
1. Good intentions are sovereign protection from the consequences of lack of foresight.
2. It’s too early to let anyone else know there’s a problem.
3. If you can avoid noticing the problem, it will not be there.
4. If you can just avoid looking like an idiot, the problem will solve itself.
5. Everyone will know exactly what the problem is without you having to tell them a thing.
6. If someone you don’t like says it’s an emergency, you may safely assume it isn’t.
7. Since the future cannot be predicted with one hundred percent accuracy, it can be completely ignored.
8. If you can just keep people from making a fuss about it, by the time the problem becomes unmanageable, it will be someone else’s problem.
9. It is far more important to avoid embarrassment and inconvenience today than death and disaster tomorrow.
1. The first and most important step in solving any problem is to assign blame.
2. On an important project, always remember to assign responsibility for success to yourself and responsibility for failure to someone else.
3. All you have to do to show that yours is the right opinion is to show that everyone else’s is wrong.
4. Inconvenient facts don’t really matter.
5. The secret of good expert advice is to find an expert who agrees with you.
6. Focus on only one aspect of the problem. All others can be safely ignored.
7. Never consider all the consequences of your actions.
8. Problems can always be solved at the last minute.
9. Expect others to solve your problem. And keep in mind that their problems are none of your responsibility.
10. Always pay more attention to your fears than your hopes.
11. Depend on your feelings. People who depend on reason and logic are cold and not to be trusted.
Stand Your Ground
1. The only possible reason for someone to disagree with your ideas is malice, naiveté, or pigheadedness.
2. Since only troublemakers will criticize your ideas, any facts, logic, or contrary arguments that they cite can be safely ignored.
3. If you just stick to your principles, you are not only justified in rejecting any criticism, you are also perfectly safe in not listening to find out what it is.
4. If the goals you have in mind are incompatible, that’s no reason to change your plans.
5. Do not listen to people with a different viewpoint from yours. They might infect you.
6. Listening to someone with different values than your own, shows that you lack principles.
7. There is one thing of which you can be absolutely certain: Closed-mindedness is only a fault of others.
8. When you find you are at the bottom of a hole, remind yourself, “I’m not a quitter! ” and dig harder.
1. Never question an authority-figure—it might make him mad.
2. Whoever yells the loudest is always right.
3. Better to be accepted by others than to be right.
4. Depend blindly on others.
5. Anyone who is like you can be trusted.
6. Anyone who has been nice to you for the last half hour can be trusted.
7. Be particularly trusting of anyone who is angry with you so they will see how nice you are.
8. If you have no reason to trust another person, then a solemn promise from him or her will give you absolute protection. I swear it.
9. Always keep in mind that when the head lemming yells, “Jump! ” you have about one second to prove, once and forever, that you are completely and irrevocably trustworthy.