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Category - Life

When it is Right to Tell Someone They’re Wrong?

Being agreeable is good thing, right?

It’s easier to hold a conversation, share your thoughts and grow relationships with agreeable people. And agreeable people are nicer, more helpful and caring than people who like to argue.

So it’s easy to see why we’re taught to be agreeable, even if it means we have to agree to disagree.

But that doesn’t always work, like when agreeing comes at expense of the truth.

Today, I was given a lesson on some Web usability best practices that were 100% wrong. I mean, I know this — I study usability and have gone to trainings on it. And it wasn’t just one mistake, either, it was two big mistakes that contribute to failure, not success.

But even though I knew better, I didn’t say anything. It just wasn’t worth it. I thought about saying something, though, but there was really no upside to it.

I may not be a totally agreeable person, at least according to Wikipedia and my predictive index. Read this:

Jason is an independent and individualistic person, strong-minded and determined. Venturesome, he will stick his neck out and take responsibility for risks when he believes he is right. He finds the challenge of new problems and new ventures stimulating, and responds to them with action. He has a lot of confidence in himself, his own knowledge, ability and decisions.

I don’t know if that makes me egotistical, or just confident, or what — my PI also says I value my own “ideas, judgments, and opinions more than he does those of most other people” — but it got me thinking: when is it right to tell someone they’re wrong?

Is ignorance really bliss? Does the truth matter?

Let me know what you think in a comment.

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3 Observations About Seemingly Unrelated Items

I haven’t blogged for, what, a few weeks now? That’s not a total shocker, per se, since I’ve always tended to go through peaks and valleys of creativity.

But as my life has started getting into a new routine (did I mention I started a new job? Press release coming soon), I’ve realized a few things about my priorities.

I don’t need to stay as connected to the news as I thought
I’ve talked about selective ignorance before, but for the past few weeks, I’ve lived it. I’ve spent a total of about 5 minutes in my Google Reader over the past 2 weeks. And boy, a lot of stuff happens. And most of it is useless.

How much time are you wasting trying to know everything?

It’s way easier to be productive to music than to podcasts
I love podcasts. But I only have a certain amount of time in my day to half-pay attention to them. And that’s OK, since my time is probably the most valuable thing I have (after my family).

Rather than trying to listen to what all of my podcasts are talking about, playing music in the background is way more conducive to getting things done.

And, PS, I love Pandora.

There’s only so many things you can do at a time
I haven’t done jack with Automatic Finances in the past few weeks. I just haven’t had the time, and that bothers me. Part of me thinks that it should be merged into this site, but I don’t want to be pegged solely as the personal finance guy.

But since I started the new job, am now recording two podcasts a week — Tech Blab and This Week in This Week in Tech (TwiTwit) — and thoroughly enjoy it all, prioritization becomes even more important.

There’s only so much lifehacking you can do (I already killed my commute) to make all this happen.

The First Official 24 Season 8 Trailer

As shown during Game 1 of the World Series Wednesday night:

Great quotes:

“You’re lucky I’m retired.”

“You’re supposed to call me grandpa”

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Why Can’t We Always Blink New Music?

Why does it take two or three listens to new music before you decide if you like it or not?

You know what I mean. The first time you hear a song on the radio or Pandora or on an album, you’re not sure if it’s any good. I know I can’t be the only person this happens to.

Take, for example, Light, the latest album from Matisyahu. We bought this album in the car on a recent trip to Philly, but on the first listen, I really wasn’t sure if I would like it (tangent: it is so addictive buying crap on your phone in the middle of nowhere. Apple has to love this).

One Day, the first single off the album, was the song I knew and enjoyed. The rest of the album, at first listen, sounded like a pretty big departure from his last album.

But I somehow knew that it would take more than one listening to really evaluate it. And even though my initial reaction was a bit of surprise (considering how much I liked his last album, Youth), I listened to it more.

And I ended up really liking it.

But in Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, he argues that “our initial, intuitive response to a person, object, or event — the one that transpires in the first few milliseconds of our exposure to it — is often the one that proves to be correct.”

While Blink is probably Gladwell’s weakest book, he’s basically arguing that we have a gut instinct, and most of the time, it’s right. I think we can all agree with that.

But there’s something different about music. When it’s good, we know right away. When it’s not obviously good, you need to listen to it again to figure out how you feel.

Maybe it’s because music has a way of growing on you. But I’m not sure 100%.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

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Why Personal Branding Doesn’t Really Work

Let me just say this up front: I think personal branding is a sham. The idea that you can have one thing that consistently defines you in all contexts of your life is ridiculous.

It’s impossible to have one marketable brand that you can apply to every community you belong to. You can be “that guy” in specific circles — the rugby guy to your sports friends, or the photoshop guy to your tech friends — but the only thing you can be across group lines is yourself.

So if you have any depth of character whatsoever, you can’t honestly say that only one thing defines you.

You may love playing poker, but unless you’re a professional, what you do for a living also defines you. You may be Catholic, but if you blog about food, you’ve got more than one brand.

Since out of everyone in the world, the person I know the best is myself, take a look at how I could be defined:

  • web guy
  • tech/gadgets guy
  • writer/blogger/journalist
  • jewish guy
  • orioles/ravens fan
  • husband/dad/son/brother/uncle
  • wordpress guru
  • podcaster/video talent
  • music lover
  • tv/movies/entertainment fan
  • and probably more. For sure more.

(Marci Alboher explains this best with her slash mentality; we are not just one thing, we are bloggers/speakers/consultants/ …)

So, the question becomes: how you combine all of the things that make you up into one brand?

You can’t. Except to say that you are your brand.

Jason Unger is my brand. But that doesn’t define me in a “personal branding” sense, which would rather me be the “wordpress guy” or the “lover of 24.” It simply says that I am the sum of my parts. Which is true.

While it is also true that I am a “wordpress guy” and “lover of 24,” these stereotypes don’t matter out of context.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t connect. In fact, it’s when the your multiple brands collide that you have the opportunity to benefit.

And when that happens, your branding simply becomes your name. Not your area of expertise or passion. You.

So don’t try and define yourself by one brand that doesn’t fit all of your contexts. The only universal personal brand is your name.

© Jason Unger. A Digital Ink Production.