A former colleague was fond of saying “I knew it!” after someone had done something worthy of note. Besides the sheer audacity of this remark there is the issue of accuracy. Human beings are just plain inaccurate in filling out their own report cards and she was no exception. Yet, hackneyed assertions such as this survive even among bright, successful people. As luck would have it, there is a name for this phenomena. Self-serving bias – this is the tendency for people to take credit for their successes while ignoring or discounting failures. It isn’t an act of dishonesty, nor is it delusion – it’s part of the human condition. That said, success isn’t sustained on a base of falsehoods no matter how naturally they may occur.

If you want to be taken seriously:

1. Be declarative about your point of view, in advance. Lying in wait for something to go wrong, then declaring you knew it all along isn’t of help.

2. Take accurate stock of your abilities. If you are’t good at something that is part of your role then get good at it or modify your role.

3. Don’t rely on the advice of people who are not successful themselves – anyone can have an opinion, but those with relevant ability are far better sources of advice and do not need to give it to boost their egos.

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