Taking Things Literally: A feature and a bug

Note to my future self..

You take things literally a lot of the time. Even though you think you have a good BS filter the reality is that if you trust the source that’s telling you something you will tend to assume that that information is valid. The more you trust a source the more you will take what they say literally.

At a first glance this is not great. It means that it will be hard for you to think for yourself, which is fundamental. However, paying attention to what smart people save can save you a considerable amount of time and energy. Seeking a balance will be a constant struggle.

Now the important thing to remember is that taking things literally is both a feature and a bug. It’s one of your greatest strength but also a great weakness. Smart people have told me that I can accomplish anything that I want in life even more than them. I’ve believed them. I think it’s what gives a lot of conviction today to know deep down that things will work out no matter what.

However, taking things literally is also a bug because it means that sometimes I don’t read between the lines. Sometimes I forget that smart people say certain things to present a simple narrative, appease someone or just boost their own egos. Sometimes smart people don’t have a way to articulate their message so they fallback on cliches and aphorisms to get their point across. Smart people will always have these issues. It’s your job to cut through the noise and separate the wheat from the chaff (see what I did there).

Now back to work…