They Say The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

A little harsh, I’d say, but there is a point to be made about the unintended consequences that well-meaning ideas and words can have on our success.

Consider these three examples:

  • The IQ test was originally created to identify a child’s learning deficits, so they could receive extra attention and instruction. Later these scores were applied as a horribly misused tool of eugenics. Today, while less nefarious, we still use IQ scores to label and limit a kid’s potential and segregate them from their fellow students.
  • Parents want to protect all children, but we treat our daughters with extra “kid gloves.” One study shows we tell them “to be careful” four times more frequently than we tell our sons. The result is they can grow up to be more risk averse and cautious in their careers and lives.
  • And finally, in 1867, baby formula was invented to help women who were unable to breastfeed. Over the course of the next 100 years, formula was marketed as “better than breast milk” and by the early 1970s, over 75% of American babies were fed on commercial baby formula.

The CIA coined the term “blowback” to refer to “the unintended, harmful consequences to friendly populations when a given weapon is used beyond its intended purposes.”

A similar type of blowback can occur when we misuse or over apply the many tools and resources we have at our disposal to help our kids or our own circumstances.

The answer isn’t to avoid them all together, but to make sure we better understand how and why we’re using them and, most importantly, to what end.  
Is there anything in your life that’s causing you unnecessary blowback? (Psst…one of them may be what you’re using right now to read this post.)

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