The Duck School

if it looks like a duck...

 

 

“If you call a tail a leg, how many legs has a dog? Five? No, calling a tail a leg don’t make it a leg.”

Abraham Lincoln

 

“If he looks like an idiot and talks and acts like an idiot, don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.”

"Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”

Groucho Marx

 

“The reality of the other person lies not in what he reveals to you, but in what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says, but rather to what he does not say.

Kahlil Kibran

 

“He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.”

Chinese proverb

 

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”

Voltaire

the school of common sense:

The Duck School...

 

  • What is the Duck School?
  • 10 Rules of the Duck School
  • 10 Obstacles

 

The duck school...

What is the Duck School? It is my invention, but not really. It is the oldest and largest school in the world—a school as old as time itself. It is the school of common sense—the scammers’ kryptonite. Its teachings couldn't be easier to understand—or more difficult to follow…

 

 

The rules

  1. We have to trust ourselves...
  2. Forget the messenger...
  3. Demand the explanation...
  4. If it's too good to be true...
  5. Be wary of respectability-by-association...
  6. Repetition changes nothing...
  7. Beware the need for speed...
  8. Smell the smell...
  9. Why us?
  10. Has the messenger invested in the opportunity?

 

 

The obstacles

  1. We see only what we want to see...
  2. We can't see or hear what isn't there...
  3. We focus only on ourselves...
  4. We can't free ourselves of our assumptions...
  5. We embrace those simple explanations...
  6. We defer to hubris and power...
  7. We are hopelessly optimistic and trustful...
  8. We are myopic...
  9. We are vulnerable to peer pressure...
  10. Misery loves company...

 

 

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10

 

rule 1:

We have to trust ourselves

If something looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have to trust ourselves that what we are looking at might just be a duck...

 

 

rule 2:

Forget the messenger...

If someone tells us the duck is a swan, it won’t matter how rich, well-educated or respected that someone might be. Forget the messenger. Until we are offered a convincing explanation as to why what we are looking at is a swan, it will remain a duck…

 

 

rule 3:

Demand that explanation...

If we’re really not sure what we’re looking at, that explanation becomes even more important. And if that explanation is not offered, we must demand it. And if they tell us the explanation is confidential and they can’t share it with us, just walk away…

 

 

rule 4:

If its too good to be true...

If it seems just too good to be true that what we’re looking at is really a swan, there’s a good chance it might just not be true. What we are really looking might just still be duck…

 

 

rule 5:

Be wary of respectability-by-association

If someone tells us the duck is a swan and that we can trust him because, in another context completely, others have trusted his judgment, this won’t turn this particular duck into a swan…

 

 

rule 6:

Repetition changes nothing...

If someone repeats a dozen times that the duck is really a swan, it won’t turn the duck into a swan…

 

 

rule 7:

Beware the need for speed...

If someone demands that we act quickly and identify the duck as a swan, we have to ask why there is such a sudden need for speed…

 

 

rule 8:

Smell the smell...

If something does not smell quite right about the duck or the person selling it, we should take a moment to breathe deeply and smell the smell. As we breathe deeply and smell the smell, we have to trust ourselves to recognize any unusual odors.

 

 

rule 9:

Why us?

As we think about the enormous return we are being offered by the proposed deal, we have to ask why we were so fortunate to have been singled out for this wonderful opportunity. Why us… ?

 

 

rule 10:

has the messenger invested in the opportunity?

If we are leaning towards buying the swan the messenger is selling, why not ask if he has bought too?

 

 
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
.

obstacle 1:

We see only what we want to see

We often tend to see only what we want to see—and we sometimes won’t even look for what we don’t want to see…

.

.

obstacle 2:

we can't see or hear what isn't there.

We sometimes can’t see what isn't there and what isn’t said—and we often don’t even try…

.

.

obstacle 3:

we focus only on ourselves.

We often tend to focus only on ourselves and not on the other side or on anything that doesn't appear directly related to us.  We allow our ego and hubris to get in the way…

.

.

obstacle 4:

we have trouble freeing ourselves of our assumptions

We often tend to view the world solely through the lens of our own assumptions. We often find it difficult to free ourselves of those assumptions —assuming we even want to…

.

.

obstacle 5:

we embrace those simple explanations

We are often too eager to embrace simple explanations without questioning some basic assumptions of those explanations—particularly when those simple explanations confirm what we want to believe…

.

.

obstacle 6:

our deference to hubris and high office.

We sometimes allow the hubris and high office of others to sway us and cloud our judgment—as if they know better than us that the duck is a swan. They don’t…

.

.

obstacle 7:

our optimism and trust

We are all naturally optimistic, but our optimism sometimes turns into blind optimism and trust. This is because we sometimes want to believe something so badly…

.

nt 7

.

obstacle 8:

our myopia

Because we often focus so intently on the short-term and on instant gratification, we sometimes can’t see the long-term consequences of our actions and decisions…

.

.

obstacle 9:

that peer pressure

We will sometimes find ourselves having to balance our personal interests against the interests of a larger group we may represent.  In those cases, we have to do the right thing and consider putting the interests of others ahead of our own interests. In those cases, we will have to withstand the peer pressure of those more interested in themselves and who are against you doing the right thing…

.

.

obstacle 10:

misery loves company

We always feel better if someone else has done what we anyway want to do. And when more than one person has done it, we feel even better. We are then tempted to rely on whatever due diligence they have done, without doing our own…

.