“Don’t give them reason to think you’re stupid”, the colleague tells you about your bosses; or your boss tells you about your clients, or your parents tells you about your teachers, or your teacher tells you about the Olympiad judges. The list goes on.
What about finding something that helps them think you are you? The negatives turn us up more than the positives do and so “Don’ts” feature more prominently in our brains than “Dos”. That is largely because fear is a powerful motivator.
But it is also a short term motivator. It is the NOx in your racing engine. It can have damaging effects on your body if you run on fear too much, for too long. Better to draw on purpose, on inspiration as motivators. And so start asking “why” on the “Dos”.
Don’t bother with avoiding things that will make you look stupid. Because if someone wants to think you are stupid, they will eventually find the reason to. Better to consider who you are and what can inform others of that identity of yours. Too much of our work life is about avoiding being stupid, optimising the frills, making ourselves presentable but forgetting what exactly are we trying to present.
Lose the “don’ts”, focus on the “dos”.