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Don’t Subscribe To The God Complex

Don’t Subscribe To The God Complex

If you are thinking about doing something then, as the Nike advert says, go for it!

But, I hear you say, what if I fail, and my response to that is fail! Fail as many times as you can. Now at this stage, you might think that I have lost the plot so to speak.

But without failure, you can never fully succeed.

The problem with starting a business is who do you take advice from? Who do you spend your money to help you become successful?

In addition, many people will tell you that if you follow their ‘blueprint’ you will make thousands if not millions of pounds yet if you fail, you will blame yourself – probably because you feel inferior to the person who did make money.

Now what some of these ‘experts’ suffer from is what Tim Harford refers to as the ‘God complex’.

What the God complex subscribes to is, is that no matter how complicated the problem, you (the God) have an overwhelming belief that you are infallibly right in your solution.

Now you can see the God complex around all of all of the time – in our politicians, doctors, in economists who predict the financial state of the country, weather forecasters – basically anyone who in the face of an incredibly complicated world are nevertheless absolutely convinced that they understand the way that the world works.

And they all have one consistent thing in common.

Their predictions are wrong in the vast majority of cases.

The God Complex In Physical Skills Training

abuse and bully business man , boss and subordinate

Part of my business is physical skills training and I see the God complex in many trainers who expect the people they train to treat them like little ‘Gods’.

These types of trainers advocate that their system is the best, yet it has probably not evolved very much or changed little since they (and possibly a few other little ‘God’s’) first ‘thought it up’.

In many cases they don’t listen to or take feedback from the many people who have told them it doesn’t work, preferring instead to believe that it doesn’t work because the person who it didn’t work for did it wrong – sound familiar?

In business, we have business analysts and marketing professionals and commercial managers who profess to know exactly what is wrong with our economy and also, what you can do to make money – and we pay them highly for their intellectual opinions and views.

Yet in spite of what they tell us and should know failures occur.

Things happen that were never foreseen that have led to a drop in the markets and a recession or a depression, yet if these so-called ‘experts’ (Gods) are preaching that they have the answers why then do so many of them not foresee what happens.

The reason is that the world is a much more complex place and making a business successful is a much more complex activity than simply how you market and sell your services and products.

This is where the God complex fails.

Trial and Error Works Every Time

But there is a system that works every time. In every complex system, this has been the way the solution has been found or the problem resolved. It’s called trial and error, but to do that we have to also that failures will occur.

You see the whole process of growth and evolution can only be sustained by accepting failure as a natural (and sometimes very important) part of it.

Therefore if you want to evolve your business – or even your life come to think of it – into something more than what it already is, you need to look constructively at what failure can offer you.

You see failure is part of evolution, and evolution occurs because of trial and error, and trial and error is simply the process of variation and selection.

As a human being we have evolved because of variation and selection, and so has every other animal and living thing on the planet, but its not just living things that have evolved this way.

Businesses Evolve This Way Too

In fact, all successful businesses that stay the course will evolve because of variation and selection – trial and error.

That means that providing you are willing to embrace change and be flexible enough in your approach, you will eventually end up with a product or service that will have evolved into something practical and workable – fit for purpose if you like.

Now trail and error is much more common in successful institutions than we care to recognise according to Tim Harford, yet many people make a very good living by giving you absolute solutions to complex problems – and because there are no absolutes these ‘absolute solutions will fail, and if we don’t accept failure we believe that we have done something wrong.

The Flat Earth Society

Flat earth

Now, remember, it wasn’t so long ago when people believed that the world was flat and that belief was promoted by those who had the ‘God complex’.

Now Has Never Been a Better Time To Start a Business.

In today’s modern world where, with a laptop and a modem and some pretty basic software, we can produce products and run a business at little or no cost we can afford to fail.

Compare this to fifty years ago when starting a business meant opening a shop, buying stock, paying business rates, staff wages, overheads (lighting etc), having marketing material printed and paying for postage to market or for expensive adverts in newspapers and you can see were my comparison of ‘little or no cost’ comes from.

Never before have we had the ability to use trial and error in such a flexible and productive way.

We can change a web-page in seconds, network on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter at no cost, set up a website for less than an evening down the pub and set up blog sites for free.

I regularly have the pleasure of being able to work with great people and on our courses we just keep to one simple mantra – “I don’t know – let’s find out”.

So my wish for you is this.

Whatever you decide to do – go for it.

Invest in your future. Go find out. Learn from what works and learn from what doesn’t and make adjustments each time. But beware of the little ‘Gods’ that exist everywhere.

If you are intending to attend one of our Instructors Courses you’ll find no Gods there. Just people like you who learned from trial and error!

I’m Interested in Your Thoughts So Please Leave A Comment Below

I’d be very interested in your thoughts so if you have any please leave them below and if you are interested in finding out more about our BTEC level 3 Self-Defence Instructor Award Course or our BTEC Level 3 Restraint Instructor Award Course please click here:

BTEC Level 3 Self-Defence Instructor Award Course

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Best Regards

Mark Dawes

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Subscribe To The God Complex”

  1. Nice article. I think the trouble is in my aspect of this business, which is self defence, we don’t often see or evaluate the outputs of what is taught in the real world arena. This means that people with the God complex can run riot and be very successful because their product appeals to a market used to being marketed to and a market with little knowledge on the subject. Trial and error, in my work, equates moreso to pressure testing. All techniques and assumptions should emerge from and be determined by evidence (e.g. what we know to be true about the past, about human physiology/psychology etc) pressure tested with the lowest common denominator in conditions replicating reality (within reason). This should be a baseline but rarely is.

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