Lesson #9 – Encourage Incompetence

Encourage Incompetence and – obviously – discourage competence.

I was in an international group a while ago, formed of all ages and all categories of people. At some point, they decided to sing, one by one. Whoever thought they have a voice, were stating their wish to participate. It is well known that not everyone has a voice or a musical ear, so I heard some horrible noises presented as singing. What I was shocked about was the reaction of many of the people in that group: they were cheering and applauding the ones with bad voices, as if they had angel voices. The worst part came when two or three youngsters decided to try their luck and talent and sang really bad. Besides cheering and applauding, the people I told you about started to encourage the young ones to follow a career in singing, being certain they will have a big success.

At first, I thought that they were only polite but then …

I visited a forum on the internet where people were having a drawing contest. Whoever thought they have a talent for drawing were posting their drawings there, waiting for comments. And to my horror, I have noticed, again, the same reaction: the worst of the drawings were getting the most applause and encouragements of following a career in drawing.

And then I wondered: why is this happening? How can a mature person encourage a youngster to follow a path they have no calling to? Isn’t it obvious for them that by doing that, they are massively affecting the youngster’s life? The young one will think: “If the mature ones said I am good at singing, drawing, or anything else, then I should believe them. They are older, hence wiser, so they know better than me what’s good for me, right?” And they would follow that path and fail miserably. Then they will wonder what went wrong? Why did they fail when everyone around them was telling them that they are sooooo talented?

I kept watching this phenomenon ever since, and I think I found the explanation: if you encourage someone to follow a path they are incompetent to, you:

  1. Cannot be blamed for discouraging them
  2. Kill the possible competition even before it was born
  3. You are recognized and praised as such a supporter and a nice person!

This is the way normal people actually act.

What would happen if you would be honest with a person without a talent and tell him/her that they would actually need to put their efforts into something better and something they are actually good at? This is what an abnormal person would do. You know what the reaction would be? They would hate you instantly because they see themselves differently. They will think you are jealous of their success and you want to kill their creativity and enthusiasm. None of them would think that you actually try to help them. To make them think that maybe the path the others are encouraging them to follow is not their path by far, and they should explore other possibilities as well.

Also, a normal person would discourage the competent ones. I mean, why would you say “Well done” to someone who actually deserve it? What if they would ask something from you in return? Such as a pay raise, for example? Or a promotion, eh?

And, as a normal person, never repay competence  with a higher payment or a promotion! NO WAY! If the abnormals agree to work for you for peanuts, why bother change that? It shouldn’t really matter to you that they ARE competent in what they are doing and they have been loyal to you for a long time. You might lose them, but why would you care? The lake is full of fishes, isn’t it?

Next time, I will talk about loyalty … actually about how you, as a normal person, should never EVER be loyal.

Till then,


Category: Incompetence
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