Ignore Their Goalposts

by Mike Sententia on March 31, 2014

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

Share your magick, and someone will tell you they’d believe you if only you had the exact proof they want.

“I’ll believe you if this healing technique works on a dozen strangers.”

“No wait, I’ll believe you once you add a randomly-assigned placebo group.”

“Wait, why did you do all the healing sessions? I’ll believe you if other people can use your techniques.”

Never use their goalposts.

Think about it: You already furnished evidence, such as techniques that solve useful problems, techniques your system predicted that others didn’t. And you gave them guidance to learn your techniques. But rather than engage with that evidence, or try your techniques for themselves, they’re pointing out how your work falls short of billion-dollar studies run by pharmaceutical companies. It’s intellectually rude.

Never use their goalposts.

It’s not even a question of them moving the goalposts. (Although obviously, they will.)

It’s a matter of how you invest your time. You can either learn magick, or you can gather their evidence. Only one of those leads to better techniques that help more people, and long-term, to techniques that quickly demonstrate magick to potential collaborators / investors. That’s where the value lies — not in documenting a placebo-controlled test on a personal blog.

Instead, pick your own goalposts: A level of evidence that tells you you’re on the right track, steers you true most of the time, and doesn’t slow you down.

Personally, I look for my models to produce useful techniques that solve problems I couldn’t previously solve. Because that’s science in a nutshell: Build an understanding of how a thing works, use that understanding to make a prediction, verify the prediction. Bonus points if that prediction solves a useful problem.

What can you say when someone asks for specific evidence? “Thanks! I’m excited you’re interested in my work. I’m currently not soliciting investors, but I’m always interested in funded research opportunities. Please submit a proposal, including the anticipated effort and the amount of funding you have available. Thanks!”

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

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