Daily Lab: The illusion of transparency

Nobody knows you’re nervous

Daily Lab: The illusion of transparency

There’s a concept called “the illusion of transparency.”*

Basically, it’s the feeling that we’re see-through—that people can tell how nervous, afraid, or uncertain we might be feeling.

But the truth is, most people have no idea what’s actually going on in our minds.

In fact, the effort we’re putting in to act certain, strong, and confident is probably working—and people probably think we have everything under control.

But that doesn’t mean we should keep keeping it all to ourselves. It means we might want to tell someone if we need help, support, or encouragement.

Because we’re not as transparent as we think.

So, here, I’ll start: I’ve got a project I’m working on for the fall that I’m desperately nervous about because it requires me to grow beyond my current capabilities and confidence.

Honestly, it occasionally makes me sick to even think about. Which isn’t ideal, given how much thought it requires.

But I try to remind myself that growth is often painful, and I’ve gone through and achieved much harder things in the past.

This isn’t dangerous, it’s only new.

So if there’s something you’re nervous about, something you’re struggling with, or something you’re worried you won’t be able to achieve, remember this:

No one can tell you’re struggling, so you might have to tell someone if you need their support.

If there’s a marketing project on your mind that has you feeling nervous, reply to this email if you’d like to chat about it, or consider telling a friend or colleague what you’re nervous about.

They probably have no idea, and any feelings of transparency were just an illusion.

And, sometimes, we might want to break the illusion to get real support.

*Read more about cognitive biases in David Dylan Thomas’ book Design for Cognitive Bias

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