We just watched last week’s episode of “The Apprentice”, thanks to TiVo. It’s the only prime time show I watch, and I can tell it’s about ready to jump the shark… but for now, it’s still compelling television.
Dan Kennedy watches the show, too, by the way. So do quite a few other business people I know. And not in a passive way. Nope. We watch this crap because there are nuggets of marketing and business genius in every episode.
It’s like a little brainstorm session. There’s nothing remotely like it anywhere else. But I’m sure the network will screw it up soon.
Anyway, if you watched, the “Book Smarts” group lost again. The “Street Smart” group — mostly young entrepreneurs who barely finished high school — have been steadily kicking their ass. Literally knocking the smug looks off those Ivy League mugs.
Here’s why I’m blogging on it: A couple of recent behavioral studies discovered a very interesting thing about your fellow human beings. I’ve written about it twice in the Rant — namely, that there are people who are completely incompetent… yet do not recognize this flaw in themselves.
Finding out about this study resolved so many questions I’d had bugging me for years. I feel better knowing what’s going on, and I now feel prepared to deal with similar situations in the future.
What the study found is that an unnervingly large part of the population consists of people who will screw up everything they touch. Everything. Because they do not have the skills needed for even the simplest job. And they will never acquire the skills, either. For they are incompetent at the cellular level.
However, they view themselves as highly competent. It’s massive denial, and soaring self-deception. But they aren’t fooling themselves.
They actually believe they are really good at everything they do. It’s not an act.
And when things go wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault. Or there are other reasons why they failed. Sometimes these reasons are mysterious, and hard to explain.
It is never, however, their fault.
I don’t even have to ask if you’ve ever met one of these types in your life. They are unavoidable.
And their sincere belief and insistence that they are great at what they do, and couldn’t possibly be the reason things failed, is very convincing. You begin to doubt reality.
Certain situations have haunted me for years. My mind and experience told me a particular person was responsible, and obviously so… but their heated defense made me doubt my own senses.
Now, I’m on the look-out for clueless incompetents. You will never convince them they’re losers, however. Don’t even try. The self-delusion runs too deep for even advanced psychotherapy.
Back to the Trump show: Michael, the guy who got fired last week, is a pure example of this syndrome.
I was so stunned to see incompetence and denial in action that I ran to write this blog after the show ended.
It’s beautiful. This guy has bad ideas, is a walking hunk of negativity, and actively does things that guarantee failure.
Yet, in his eyes, he is brilliant, sexy, and the ONLY guy who could have saved his team. It was ONLY through the ineptitude of everyone else that things went south. They are doomed, without him.
This guy will never learn. He will never have that “aha” moment, where he sees that the huge problem in his life, all this time, was him and no one else.
He will go from situation to situation, screwing things up, blaming everyone else, and walking away from the smoldering ruins amazed that no one recognized his genius.
Even better, new situations will continue to open up for him… because often, bullshit walks. You tell me you’re brilliant, that you can do all this wonderful stuff, that you’re the most competent and talented guy around… and it sometimes will get your foot in the door.
Well, that is, it would have before I got hip to what’s going on.
In music, it’s easy to see who’s full of it. Just hand them an instrument, and you’ll know immediately if they can back up their bragging.
Unfortunately, in bidniz, it takes a little longer.
Still, fore-warned is fore-armed.
Side note: In case you’re wondering, I think Trump is a nutcase. He’s not near as savvy as he perceives himself, and I’m constantly appalled at the butt-kissing his assistants do. That organization looks like a living hell to my eyes.
But the format of the show still has legs. This match-up of street vs. college was a brilliant concept.
And egos are getting smashed. Always fun to watch that happen.
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