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The Truman Show Syndrome

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It's real, there actually is a Truman show Syndrome. There are people who believe they are being filmed every minute of every day, against their will, just like in the movie, The Truman Show. There are 40-some cases in the Western world, and these people generally end up in psychiatric hospitals. No surprise there.

The syndrome itself predates the film; I don’t know what they called it before. But what I was thinking when I learned of this was, how do they know? How do the doctors know it's a delusion? How do they know the person isn’t being filmed? The only honest answer is, they don’t.

Look, I’m not disagreeing with psychologists and psychiatrists who say these people are delusional. I tend to agree with them. But couldn’t we at least entertain the possibility that it’s real? Because the thing is, whenever something occurs that is way outside of our experience, outside of what we call reality, we are very quick to scoff and brand it an illusion. But sometimes it’s not. Galileo would have been tortured to death for heresy during the Spanish Inquisition had he not recanted his theory that the earth revolved around the sun, not the other way around. Ignaz Semmelweis said doctors were killing babies by delivering them right after tending to another patient’s festering wounds without washing their hands in between, and he was put in a mental institution. Jor-El said Krypton was going to explode and we all know how that ended.

So, what does this have to do with business? We do it in business, too. We assume that what we know, is all there is. There is this popular saying: Assume Nothing. Well, that's absurd or what is the point of experience? You have to make assumptions. It's called learning. But - and this is a big "but" - you have to be willing to let go of the assumptions instantly at the first suggestion that they may be wrong. Most of us don’t. We not only cling to the assumption, we’ll fight for it.

Now think about this: Who are the ones who are wildly successful in business?

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