Maybe it’s me but I’ve noticed lately a growing trend in published / posted articles – you’ve seen them, ones along the lines of ’14 Reasons Why Dairy Queen Is the Best Dessert.’ (While I’ve never seen such an article, I do personally believe there’s a lot truth to the claim!) I have raised this trend in a few comments I’ve added to posts lately. I subscribe to the daily email, “Inc. Wire” and immediately in one of them I noted the following first four article titles:
10 Daily Habits of the Most Confident People
7 Skills You Should Master Before You Turn 30
10 Toxic People You Should Avoid at All Costs
30 Awesome Last Minute Gifts for $100 or Less

In no way am I endorsing, promoting, or taking issue with the Inc. series, their editorial staff, the article authors, or the messages within the articles – necessarily… But I do want to raise a situation that would concern me; without the articles ever saying so, some readers (in a rush maybe, young maybe, wanting to be ‘right’ maybe…) may in fact take the suggestions the author(s) intended as required for their success, happiness, advancement…

Why do I suggest this can happen? I have talked and witnessed too many people at conferences, workshops (including mine), seminars, that say things and ask questions that strongly suggest they came to get THE solution / approach that will address their situation. In my 29+ years of teaching, I never had any student actually say “Tell me what I need to know / learn to do to be a successful” but there are many over the years that surely want that and reveal their wishes by the questions they ask and the way they approach their classes.

Confused as to my thinking? Consider the titles listed above: “10 Daily Habits of the Most Confident People” might lead to people deciding the 10 habits are required for a person to be confident. “7 Skills You Should Master Before You Turn 30” might lead to people deciding their success is doomed because they don’t have all the skills and they are in their 40’s. You get the idea, I’m sure.

BUT this is not an issue those series, editorial staffs, authors should do much about. Sure it would be great if they reminded the readers that everyone / everything is in some part unique, having specific constraints, criteria, needs. That the likelihood that the advice / suggestions will work well is very small. But we educators and leaders as well must remind our students / employees that Considering (shameless plug: http://johncbennettjr.com) carefully is always important. During formal education, teachers must facilitate development and use of effective learning skills so important to that Considering. Every person addressing any situation must know that that situation will almost certainly require a non-repeated approach. At least that’s my belief.

The good news: Those pieces such as the four noted above are of great value in Considering situations. As you will see when you read these and most pieces, they do represent other research / consideration and thus inform that Considering. Just don’t allow yourself to see any one piece having ‘everything you need to know.’ What’s your thinking?