I accept good ideas no matter their source. I reject bad ideas no matter their source.
My grandmother used to give me this wonderful-sounding advice when someone said something I didn’t like. “Consider the source.”
Having come from my grandmother, I considered this sage wisdom for years. You may have heard this advice as well. Perhaps it consoled you at some moment in your life when someone was saying something you didn’t want to hear.
Sorry, grandma, but the fact of the matter is this very bad, limiting advice. The fact that so many adults live by it part and parcel to our inability as a society to find answers to our greatest challenges or even to talk about them.
“Consider the source” is really a logical fallacy called Ad hominem – literally attack the person. This is a fallacy that causes you to discount wide swaths of ideas because of WHO proposed the idea. It’s why Democrats and Republicans can’t get things done. WHO had the idea immediately makes it good or bad.
Basically, it’s the argument that your idea isn’t wrong because of reason A. It’s wrong because you said it and you’re an idiot.
Power hack: Here’s real sagely advice for you. It will help you in identifying truly good ideas without prejudicing them based on WHO proposed them or what they are labeled.
Consider the merits of the idea, not the source. Accept good ideas no matter who suggested them and reject bad ideas no matter who suggested them.
This prevents you from following the pack in missing good ideas because an opponent suggested it. It prevents you from following bad ideas proposed by your idols. With this mindset, you can weigh every idea based on its merits and apply the best ideas to the challenges in your life.
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