Negotiating Tips to Stop Us Being Fools on April Fool’s Day

April Fool’s Day has just passed. Some people love it, while others hate being made the fool. Regardless of what side you come down on, there are some valuable tips we can learn from April Fool’s Day that will serve us on this auspicious day each year and well beyond. In fact, some of the things that will up-level our April Fool’s Day experience will also allow us to negotiate our best lives, both personally and professionally.

Before we dig in to those nuts and bolts, let me just observe that most people go through life fearing the possibility of looking like a fool. We fear failure. We fear rejection. We fear getting ‘no’ to our requests. These fears hold us back from stepping into the best version of ourselves.

Ironically, it’s in pushing past these fears that we can achieve our greatest triumphs. Failure is the path to success. Almost all great achievements throughout history came on the heels of repeated failures. When we can embrace the failure, we forge the path to breakthroughs.

I invite you to reframe the concept of looking ‘foolish’. Failing is not foolish. It’s brave and necessary. Accepting ‘no’s’ along the journey and pushing forward builds growth and momentum on the road to success. Challenging accepted dictums creates new perspectives and initiatives for expansion.

So, think bigger. Act bolder. Take chances. Trust in yourself, knowing that you will make mistakes and looking forward to the learning that comes from that.

Now, to the meat of how we can be fools on April Fool’s Day and beyond. Having clarified that failing and taking chances is not foolish, let’s explore what does constitute foolishness and how we can avoid it.

April Fool’s Day used to about trying to trick people as a gaffe or gag. It celebrated the art of trying to make others believe something that was patently false. It was a half-day ‘hall pass’ to fudge the facts and mislead.

Sadly, in today’s world it is increasingly common to see people being played the fool daily when they don’t distinguish between truth and lies. When they don’t bother to separate fact from fiction, reality from fantasy. This will become even more important with advances in technology that allow for outright fabrication of videos etc.

‘Fake news’ has become the rally cry of this generation. Whether in mainstream media or social media or in our daily exchanges, we are inundated with inaccurate information. The consequences of these falsehoods can be quite serious, as was evidenced when the world was ripped apart with vastly opposing views on COVID, with both ‘sides’ purportedly certain about the correctness of their convictions and little opportunity for meaningful dialogue.

So, how do we avoid being made the fool? Here’s a few quick tips to consider.

I Don’t believe everything you read

The breadth of the dissemination of information does not corelate with its reliability. In other words, just because you see something spreading like wildfire does not increase the reliability of the information. Viral videos do not afford them greater credibility. In fact, sometimes the opposite is true. Sensationalism attracts attention. Distortion can stand out and attract more attention.

Be intentional about distinguishing supported facts from bald assertions.

II Tap into your intuition

Allow yourself to invoke your intuition. The more you hone it, the more reliable it will become. If your guts send you a signal about the reliability (or lack of reliability) about information, trust it enough to explore the issue rather than accepting what you see or hear at face value.

Our intuition used to be relied upon to save our lives. If we sensed danger, we trusted that intuition and stood on guard for that sabre toothed tiger. Somewhere along the line we ceded its power to passive receipt of information from other sources. It’s time we tapped into our intuition again to guide our responses as others actively seek to mislead (whether for their own gain, for the chaos itself, or inadvertently through lack of responsible filtering).

Ask yourself if what you’re seeing or hearing is consistent with your experience of that person or thing. If questions arise, or a niggling doubt rubs, trust them.

III Do your homework

Rather than passively receiving information and blindly accepting it, do a little fact-checking.

  • Look to reliable sources that ensure vigorous fact-checking protocols.
  • Consider the internal consistency (or lack thereof) of the information you’re receiving. Is it at odds with your current understanding of the world on that issue?
  • Consider the external consistency of the information. Is it at odds with other external indicators?
  • Seek differing perspectives and viewpoints and look at it through multiple possible lenses.

IV Only share reliable information

Don’t be guilty of passing on information which may not be accurate … especially if that information has the potential to cause harm.

Apply Socrates triple filter test on truth:

If what you’re going to say/share is:

  • not true; and/or
  • (ii) not good; and/or
  • (iii) not useful;

don’t say it!

 

Don’t me made a fool. I hope these simple insights help you distinguish between the good, the bad and the ugly so you can live into your best life.

 

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