April 12, 2012
THE B.S. THEORY
This theory is slightly cynical, but eminently practical. It’s about making one’s way in the world, and will be of particular interest to young people starting out. It goes like this: In this universe we inhabit, we each have the inalienable right to bullshit – to go out on a limb and bluff our way to success. It’s how careers are made. And, it’s this unlikely principle upon which much of the Western world is built.
I developed this theory soon after I came to North America in 1966. Coming from the ‘olde world’ (England/Europe), I didn’t feel as confident a b.s.-er as I do now. Let’s be clear, I’m not saying that the Brits are not bullshitters. They’re some of the best. And then there are the French. And the Germans. However, in the olde world, there is a more obvious structure of entitlement in society that seems to ‘keep you down’ if you try to move beyond your station… too soon, too audaciously, too optimistically. “What makes you think you have the right, you impudent upstart?” – that sort of thing. Here, I’ve found this to be much less the case. It’s practically engrained in one’s constitutional privileges as a citizen to have the inalienable right to fake it. I think it’s because of the wide open space. In Europe, there’s a fence, a hedgerow, a barrier every which way you look.
People respect a good bullshitter over here – in the business world, anyway. Fundamentally, it’s about saying you can do more than you’re actually sure you can. People can respect that. Especially when you prove to them (and to yourself) that you can!
Anyway, the good news is that there is actually more to success than b.s. If you’re like me, you’ll find that after a number of years of bluffing your way into more and more challenging situations, one day you find yourself in the middle of a sentence and you realize that you actually know what you’re talking about.
You recognize the voice of experience talking… and it sounds a lot like yours.
So, does that mean that older people b.s. less than younger ones?
I’ll let you decide that:)