I remember this colleague I had. No one wanted to work him.
He just didn’t get along with the people in the office.
So during…I think my second or third week at the job, I asked someone, why don’t people wanna work with this guy?
And that someone said, oh that’s ‘cause he’s weird.
Then I thought, weird? Wait, what’s wrong with being weird?
What does it even mean he’s weird? I don’t get it.
Now that’s an example of the nominal fallacy.
A fallacy is a human error. It’s poor judgement.
And just like cognitive dissonance, it’s in human nature.
Alright so does nominal fallacy work? It’s like this.
You think you’re explaining something by describing it. Which isn’t true.
So let’s look again at my example a while ago.
People didn’t want to work with this person because he’s weird.
So if you’re weird, people won’t wanna work with you? Hmm…
And what do they mean by “weird” anyway?
That doesn’t really explain why people don’t like him.
You see there could be a hundred other reasons, valid reasons, to explain why.
Maybe he talks too much or has bad hygiene…I don’t know.
But anyway, what I’m trying to say is that sometimes we think a label is enough.
Before I give you another example, let me share with you this video from YouTube about assertiveness vs agression. This is one of the best informative video that I watched.
Most of you have probably used some sort of ticketing system at work, you know those programs where you send an issue to helpdesk or IT
And then for an issue, you put them into a category – bug, service request, unclassified,
Those categories, they’re great. They keep things organized.
And most of the time we need those labels to help get our work done.
Classifying things can be good, in fact many people enjoy it
But here’s the problem with that
Sometimes, we rely too much on the label
We think we know all we need to know because of that label
Okay…here’s another example for you, this one’s very common. Job titles.
I remember many times when people would say “he’s doing a great job because he’s the manager.”
Or something like “this guy is an intern, that’s why he messes up a lot.”
You see the problem there?
Let me make this clear, a description is not an explanation.
Yes, a manager is expected to do good, but it’s not why he’s good. It could be hard work or expertise.
Alright so what are you gonna do about it? How can you overcome it?
Okay first let me tell you this, these errors in the human mind, they will always be there.
So just like how you overcome cognitive dissonance, you can change the way you think.
Be aware that, hey am I looking at this the right way? Is this the explanation or just a label?
Think about it the next time you need to understand something.