Ignorance can be tolerated, but stupidity can quickly become terminal!
“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” ~~ Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)
It is fair to say that while stupidity may not necessarily kill you in normal everyday life, and may even get you into any number of high offices of state, it is unlikely to enhance your evolutionary survival .
But lack of (or inadequate) evolutionary success as part of the human species pales into insignificance in the face of the destructive impact of stupidity on your internet marketing (IM) activities! Entrenched stupidity makes IM extinction pretty much an inevitability!
I forgive you for thinking that this stupidity that I counsel against is to be found only in yourself, the IM’er; that I am basically advocating the elimination of ignorance so that you can become profitable. However, a little reflection on the actual nature of stupidity will show that an equally great (and potentially more dangerous) situation can arise from the crass stupidity of others. In other words, to safeguard your own IM survival, not only must you become non-stupid, but you’ve also got to be on the lookout for and fend off the consequences of the stupid actions of other people.
I know, you’re almost bursting with the questions:
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- What really is stupidity?
- How can I inoculate myself against it and its effects?
It is beyond the scope of this article to provide an academic exploration of the theory of stupidity (yes, there is such a thing, but that is not what Einstein discovered; instead, what he gave us is called the Theory of Relativity ). But there is a very effective summation of the characteristics of stupidity in the widely held view that:
Stupidity causes a person to inflict harm or losses or disadvantage on other people or groups of people, while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses or coming to harm in the process.
It is the sheer irrationality of stupid behaviour that makes it so dangerous, since you are generally unable to predict its full course and therefore protect yourself against it or its consequences. And don’t assume that the stupid person is fully conscious of their stupid behaviour, or that they’re intentionally stupid; it could be that neither condition applies, meaning that your first line of defense should not be to point out their stupidity to them (probably a quite useless effort). Instead, you should understand it’s implications and protect yourself appropriately.
“First we make our attitudes. Then our attitudes make us.”
For the avoidance of doubt, stupidity is not any of the following and should not be confused with them:
- Ignorance: Basically a state of being uninformed, this is not the same as stupidity, although it can fuel stupidity and make it harder to cure.
- Incompetence: Lack of ability to deal appropriately with the task at hand. May be related to ignorance, and sometimes evolves into stupidity; especially if the person concerned neglects to acquire the training and skills necessary to remedy their incompetence.
- Helplessness: The helpless (some might even say ‘hapless’) person may suffer loss while you gain from the encounter.
- Malice / Banditry: The bad person or robber essentially causes you harm or loss that results in a material or psychological gain or advantage for them.
As an internet marketer trying to avoid stupidity and its consequences, you may want to pay particular attention to the following:
- If a money-making program is too dull or has too many steps or processes to make it work, watch out. Is it complicated because of the comprehensive (and potentially profitable) nature of the system or because the originators didn’t/couldn’t manage to straighten it out. If the latter, you’re likely to lose out (as well as the originators themselves!).
- There seems to be a constant proportion of stupid people in any group. So if you take scientists, there will be a certain ratio of them that are stupid. This ratio, let’s call it S, will be the same in royalty, the clergy, doctors, the general population, and internet marketers! In fact, if you segment IM’ers, the S-ratio among the ‘gurus’ will be the same as among the newbies. Therefore, the fact that a person is a ‘guru’ is no guarantee that they are not stupid! You should therefore not suspend disbelief, just because the vendor of a program happens to be well known. Check and double-check your facts. Remember, the stupid person is really only a problem to your internet marketing business because their actions cause you (and them) significant problems; otherwise they could be reasonably ‘nice’ persons.
- Continuing to cause your customers to lose money (or advantage), i.e. they spend their money with you and derive no comparable benefit (directly or indirectly), will eventually kill off your IM business. So you probably want to regularly scrutinize and validate your programs and processes, to make sure that you’re always (over-)delivering value to your punters.
In a nutshell, if the result of what you’re selling is not a win-win situation, you could be heading for trouble, and will eventually become extinct, much like the proverbial Internet Marketing Dodo.
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