View Webpages Blocked On Your Company’s Network Using Instapaper

I am an avid reader. Whenever I get free time at work I want to read something on the Internet.

On my company’s network, some websites are blocked. For instance, I can’t directly access WordPress blogs. Not only those blogs hosted on domain, but any WordPress blog is inaccessible on the office network.

Since I read tons of blogs, it would drastically limit my reading of the stuff I am interested in.

Fortunately, Feedly is accessible at work. Feedly is a feed-reader. So I could read my subscribed blogs on Feedly.

There is, however, a limitation with Feedly.

Some blog-owners don’t allow full feed of their blog posts. So I would not be able to read those blogs whose owners have chosen to only allow the tile or a snippet of their blog posts via feed.

Today I found a solution to that problem. The name of that solution is Instapaper.

For those of you who don’t know, Instapaper is essentially a reading app which renders web-content for reading later and reading in clean, reader-friendly format.

Here’s the hack (It’s actually a feature of Instapaper which is incidentally a “hack” for me):

Go to Sign up. Log in. Then click on More link on the bottom left, then click on How to Save. Or lick on this link directly:

You will see a button called Instapaper Text, with instruction to drag it to your Bookmarks Bar. Once you have done that, you’ve done it.

Now any time you click on any webpage link and the page displays a message such as “Your organization has chosen to limit viewing of this site due to the rating of its content” or something like that, click on Instapaper Text button and the webpage will be rendered on Instapaper in the same browsing window.

Note that this hack is useful only for accessing webpages with reading material. And needless to say, only if your company’s network allows access to to begin with.

Here’s Why You Can’t Convince Someone With Rational Arguments

Argument: (noun) 1. A fact or assertion offered as evidence that something is true 2. Discussion in which reasons are advanced for and against some proposition or proposal

We spend too much time arguing with people about things that don’t matter. Things like which phone is better, why some film is good, which stock to invest in, which is a good holiday destination, what is the best way to lose fat etc.

It is not important to change someone’s mind about things like these. People can be left alone with their opinions once disagreement is found.

These are the kind of things on which different people are most certainly going to have different opinions. But when we hear from people an opinion that is different from ours, we want to convince them of our point-of-view by arguing with what we think are rational explanations for why we think what we think about it.

If we knew how our minds work, however, we would consider it a waste of time.

In this post I am going to tell you exactly what you need to know about human mind to save your time and energy by not engaging in arguments of this nature.

We Are Irrational All The Time

What if I told you that all human beings are irrational all the time? Yes, you read it right. ALL OF US ARE IRRATIONAL, ALL THE TIME. Even the philosophers and scientists, and so-called rationalists.

The only time we are rational is when we are making really simple decisions.

Here’s what I mean by really simple decisions: Let’s say you want to reach somewhere within an hour and if you walked it would take you two hours to reach there. So you employ rationality and say it’s rational to take a cab instead of walking.

That’s an example of really simple decision. I want you to remember this example or refer to it when I say simple scenarios where we do use rationality.

Such simple decisions are where we use perfect rationality. Our rationality is not really boast-worthy then, is it?

The moment there are multiple variables in the mix, rationality goes out the window and emotions or gut feeling takes over. We make up our minds based on how we feel about something and continue to think we are being rational. What we are actually doing there is rationalize the decision we have arrived at through emotions or gut feeling.

I will give you some examples of the decisions that we think are rational, but are most likely taken based on emotions or gut feeling.

The choice of school or college, the preference for workplace, the choice of cellphone and cellphone carrier, your favorite film or film star, your support of political party or candidate, etc. These are the kind of decisions that we like to think are rational but are anything but.

How do I know these are not rational decisions?

Any time you see two people having two different opinions over something, or different people having different opinions over something, though it may seem simple, it is not one of those simple scenarios (refer above to the example of simple decision) where we are rational. It is the multiple variables scenario where the opinions are based on emotions and subjective experiences, or gut feeling, so to speak. People who think they are being rational about these things are merely rationalizing their positions.

Why We Don’t See Our Irrationality

If we are rationalizing our beliefs, opinions and decisions rooted in emotions or gut feeling and all we are doing is rationalizing them, then why do we keep thinking that we are being rational?

The answer to this lies in confirmation bias.

As soon as emotions or gut feeling biases our mind towards one position, confirmation bias kicks in. We start noticing things that confirm the position we are already now biased towards, all the while blocking all the conflicting information that may come our way, which keeps on expanding the bias until we become certain about the correctness of our position.

Confirmation bias is a well-known psychological phenomenon. If you don’t understand confirmation bias, you have not taken the first step in understanding human interactions.

Convincing Someone With “Rational” Arguments

When an opinion is formed in the irrational way, that is, based on emotions or gut feeling (which is how it is almost all the time), it is almost impossible to change that opinion using facts and “rational” arguments.

Reason: An opinion or decision based on emotions or gut feeling is likely fueled by a lot of confirmation bias. When that position is argued against using facts or what the opposing side thinks to be rational arguments, it induces cognitive dissonance in the person holding those opinions.

Cognitive dissonance is another well-known psychological phenomenon, and is equally essential in understanding human interactions in a meaningful way.

Cognitive dissonance is a mental discomfort one feels when one is presented with facts and arguments that conflict with one’s own beliefs or opinions. The stronger one’s beliefs/opinions are, the more the dissonance.

Once the dissonance is created by conflicting information/facts, the person would want to get rid of it. Now there are two ways to remedy cognitive dissonance. Either the person suffering from the dissonance can agree with the person with the opposing view (and accept that they were wrong), or make up more irrational hypotheses to justify their views in the face of conflicting information.

For some reason, humans are not good at accepting that they were wrong upon being countered with conflicting facts and information – at least not immediately. But they can’t live with cognitive dissonance either. Result: The disagreement widens.

When Rational Arguments Work

There may be times when you have changed other people’s minds using rational arguments and facts to counter their opinion. I don’t say it never happens.

But if you credit your rationality or facts alone for that success, you may be mistaken.

First of all, no one is perfectly rational except in case of really simple decisions (refer above to the example of simple decision). So when you thought you convinced someone using a rational argument, you were actually using better rationalization for your position than your opponent was using for theirs.

That said, some positions are more rational, or better, than others, even if both the positions are held by different people based on their emotions or gut feeling. And a person with aptitude for rationality is easy to convince with facts and “rational” arguments.

So here’s two situations where rationality and facts have worked for you –

  1. When the person you presented your differing view to already saw you as an authority, or generally respected you, regarded you as an intelligent person.
  2. The target of your argument was someone who had aptitude for rationality. Meaning, they regarded rationality as a virtue.

Barring scenarios with the above two conditions, there’s no way anyone can convince another person of a different or opposite view – at least not immediately.

So if you are setting out to argue for what you consider to be a superior belief, opinion or decision with 1) someone who doesn’t know you or doesn’t regard you as a particularly intelligent person and/or 2) doesn’t have aptitude for rationality – which is most people you will come across – good luck with getting your point-of-view through their head.

You might want to save time and energy, and possibly even the relationship, by hearing a different opinion from someone and letting it be.

Why Men Should Not Get Tattoos

Men should not get tattoos. There are two reasons for that.

  1. Tattoos are historically associated with criminality. Prisoners, gang members, drug dealers etc. have been using tattoos as marks of identification with the group. As such, there is stigma attached to having tattoos. I have found this stigma to be legitimate. More often than not, people who have tattoos are low-IQ, too individualistic and opposed to generally held social norms. Quite a few of them have unstable mind.
  2. Apart from reason # 1, which is a good reason in itself for not getting a tattoo, getting a tattoo is not-so-intelligent.

In this post I will talk in detail about reason # 2 for it needs explaining.

I have interacted with many men who have tattoos, or want to get one, about why they are fond of getting inked. The explanation I got from most of them is this: Tattoos are an expression of their unique individuality. In other words, they believe that the inked image or pattern on their skin defines them.

When asked what if later on they don’t like the tattoo they got, they explain, patronizingly, that once they get a tattoo, it would become a part of them. It becomes a permanent feature of their body. Just like one can’t not accept their face if they don’t like their face, there is no question of not liking the tattoo once got.

Of course, when there is no choice, what is one to do but accept? But getting a tattoo that later on one doesn’t like is a bit different from having a bodily feature one doesn’t like. One doesn’t choose one’s body. But one choses to get a tattoo. That entails… regret. So, even though one accepts the tattoo as a permanent feature of one’s body, that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of regret.

I hypothesize that more often than not, people will regret getting a tattoo. The reason is simple: People can’t even choose and stick with a Facebook cover (or wallpaper on their cellphone) that defines them (that’s exactly what they aim for when choosing those images, right?), but they believe that the image or pattern they think defines them now will always define them, and that they will never find a better “definition” for themselves.

The reality is, just like you always replace your Facebook cover with one that better defines you, you will always find better images or patterns that would better define you; more so because your personality is never constant. Our minds change all the time. Most people grossly overestimate the consistency of their tastes and preferences – things their mind perceives as meaningful.

Now let me go a step further. This whole “expression of individuality” explanation is just a rationalization. The real reason people want to get tattoos is that they want to stand out.

Let’s be honest, can we?

One wants to wear certain clothes and accessories, get certain haircut and buy certain shoes, etc. so that one stands out and gets noticed. Not so that one feels good about oneself. People who say they dress up not for the world for themselves are being dishonest. If they wore certain new clothes only so that it made them feel good, why would they look forward to wearing them only when going out in public? It sure makes them feel good, but that is because – and to the extent – they think it makes them stand out or get noticed. Spot the primary reason.

Tattoos are also done to stand out.

Now some people who have tattoos on non-visible parts of their body (back, chest, upper biceps,..) would jump up in opposition. But they’d be wrong. Their tattoo, too, is to stand out, if at more intimate occasions. Funnily enough, they can’t resort to “expression of individuality” rationalization for tattoo. Because if their tattoo is not visible at all, where is the expression? And to whom?

To this they’ll say they don’t need to show it to anyone; just having the tattoo on them makes them feel good. That’s BS. But I’d give up on them at this point. You can stop reading here if you’re one of them.

So: If one thinks that one’s tattoo is an expression of individuality, then newsflash: they don’t understand human mind. Secondly, tattoos are not expression of individuality but are done to stand out. If one has hard time admitting this to oneself, they need to work on their rationality.

If one is rational and says that one has got a tattoo to stand out, one needs to bear the stigma. (I will not hire someone with a tattoo.) One should aim to stand out by doing something worthwhile. Develop a skill, achieve something to stand out. It is one thing to attempt to stand out by wearing certain clothes and getting certain haircut; that’s within the range of normal behavior. But it is quite another thing to ink one’s body permanently; that’s not normal, that’s neurotic.

Related reading:

Peacock Theory of Mate Attraction and Decline of Culture

5 Reasons Visible Tattoos Will Negatively Impact Your Life (exrernal)

5 Reasons Why Girls With Tattoos And Piercings Are Broken (exrernal)

How To Do Affirmations And Why They Work

In 2016, Scott Adams has been one of the most influential persons I came across. His book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big is the best self-help book available today in my opinion. In that book, Adams offers many hacks to help one become more productive and efficient, and succeed in life.

One of the things that he talks about in the book is affirmations.

What Are Affirmations?

Affirmations are simply the practice of repeating to yourself what you want to achieve while imagining the outcome you want. You can write it, speak it, or just think it in sentence form. The typical form of an affirmation would be “I, Scott Adams, will become an astronaut.” – Scott Adams, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Chapter 24

When you want to achieve something in life, whether it is something material or in terms of any skill, you should say to yourself or write down on a piece of paper several times a day (10 to 15 times or more) that you will work for it and achieve it; and it vastly increases the odds of you achieving the desired thing.

Affirmations may not appeal to scientific minds, but let me assure you that I am not superstitious. I also don’t believe the pseudoscience of The Secret or the Law of Attraction and think that doing affirmations exerts some pressure on the universe to bend its laws in favor of the person doing affirmations. But I am convinced that they work.

Why Do I Believe In Affirmations?

The reason why the concept of affirmations appealed to me when I read about it in Adams’ book is partly because I had already employed them when I was younger and superstitious, and had seen success. I did them differently then and didn’t call them affirmations.

In those days, every night before going to sleep I used to recite some prayers and then say to myself, “I will do this-and-this”, “I will achieve this-and-this” and so on. I achieved many of the things I stated in my affirmations. But as I grew in age I stopped saying those prayers and affirmations, and thought I was superstitious for doing so. I also thought that I would have achieved them regardless of affirmations.

Now I strongly believe that affirmations did help me at least to some extent in those days. It’s just that the way the affirmations worked was different than what my superstitious mind thought at the time.

How To Do Affirmations?

You shouldn’t be too specific in your affirmations. For example, if your aim is to master guitar, don’t say “I will master guitar in two years“. Instead, just say “I will master guitar”. Understand that affirmations are not science like physics where you can apply x amount of force for y amount of time and be sure of the outcome. Leave out details like timelines from affirmations.

Keep the affirmations clear and short. Some examples below:

  • I will master guitar.
  • I will own a bigger house and a bigger car.
  • I will quit my corporate job.
  • I will make money online.
  • I will write a book.

Write them down on a piece of paper 10 to 15 times or more in a day. Or you can just say them aloud to yourself. Work with 5 to 6 affirmations regularly. More than that would be too many.

This way you are repeatedly affirming that you will achieve what you desire. It will vastly increase your odds of achieving those things.

How/Why Do Affirmations Work?

Human mind is a complex organism. It cannot be operated in a straightforward way as we would like to keep it. You can’t just say “I want achieve so-and-so”, and glide through the path to achieve the end. There are distractions and you lose focus. There are also demotivating factors that derail the mind.

But if you hack your mind, you can get it to do what you want from it.

Affirmations are a mind-hack. They keep the mind focused on goals. They keep reminding you of your destination so that your mind quickly spots the influences that are going to derail you. As a result, you avoid the negative influences before they affect you. And not only do you avoid the negative influences, you draw positive influences towards you, too.

For example, if one of your affirmations is “I will always stay lean and healthy”, it will be easy for you to stick to healthy diet, avoid smoking, and find ways to avoid any and all health problems. It’s like your mind will always be on the lookout for information and guidance for healthy living.

If your mind is reminded of 5 to 6 long term goals several times in a day then any time it is free it will divert its energy towards activities that take you closer to those goals. This may sound simplistic, but affirmations are actually more potent than one would be willing to agree. Affirmations are one of the best mind-hacks.

As a closing remark I would add with emphasis that for affirmations to work best it would help if one believes that affirmations work and one wants them to work.

Try affirmations instead of New Year’s resolutions this time.

How To Avoid Being Misled By Media Narratives?

The year 2016 confirmed for me that media’s job is not to deliver news but to push narratives. The narrative-pushing modern media poses certain challenge for the public. The challenge of identifying the right narrative to believe in.

If you have followed this year’s presidential election in the US, you saw how for over a year, till the very last day, the media vigorously kept saying that Donald Trump had no chance of winning the presidency, and yet he won bigly. After a fiasco like this, how can you believe the media?

When opposing narratives are running through the media, how can one avoid being misled? This is the question I will address in this post – with example of the recent Trump election.

To begin with, I’ll talk about what makes us vulnerable to being misled. During this election cycle I learned a great many things about psychology. One of the things that I learned about is confirmation bias. I knew what confirmation bias was, but I was not fully aware about how powerful its role is in our perception of the world. Another major thing that I learned is that humans are irrational almost all the time. None of our big decisions are based in rationality. NONE. Most of our decisions – small and big – are based not on facts but on how we feel about things. And our perceptions are strengthened by confirmation bias once we have formed a perception – which we do based on how the stimulus has made us feel emotionally. All this makes us vulnerable.

While I was following the election coverage I saw two universes in the media. The MSM (mainstream media) was relentlessly thrashing Trump; calling him a clown, racist, sexist, misogynist, an immature person with mental age of a 4-year-old, Hitler, etc. Nearly everyone in the MSM said that he had virtually zero chance of winning the presidency. And they worked incredibly hard to cover up Hillary’s crookedness that involved crimes as serious as treason. This was one universe.

There was another universe with the opposite reality. In that universe – which comprised of “alternative media” websites and citizen journalism on social media – Trump was not a clown but rather a master persuader. His use of language which was labeled “immature” in the MSM universe was considered to be application of his weapons-grade persuasion techniques. Trump was considered not scary Hitler but the savior of Western Civilization. The folks in this universe worked incredibly hard to expose Hillary’s crookedness and disqualifications.

People who followed the MSM coverage viewed Trump as a clown, racist, sexist, misogynist and whatever else he was branded as in that universe; and those who were solely exposed to the pro-Trump universe saw him as master persuader and the savior of the West etc. and viewed Clinton as the most corrupt candidate ever to run for president.

One of the people influenced by the anti-Trump MSM universe was my boss. He had started following the election coverage after hearing me talk enthusiastically about Trump. His first impression of Trump was that of a joker. Later on, his impression of Trump changed to misogynist, sexist, racist,.. and everything that the MSM portrayed Trump to be. I, on the other hand, had known Trump through the pro-Trump universe, and as such my first impression of him was that of master persuader and a masculine nationalist figure such as the one America needed to save itself. And every step of the way my belief in him grew stronger.

Human irrationality and confirmation bias were at work at their best.

Neither I nor my boss (nor anyone else from the general public) was qualified to understand politics and policies talked about by the two candidates. Nor did we keep a track of every detail that was being mentioned by the candidates and in the news about them, much less factcheck every bit of it. And yet I was sure about Trump’s fitness to be president and about his victory, and my boss was equally sure about Trump’s unfitness and his abysmal prospects in the race.

Every evening my boss would send me links of articles written on the anti-Trump narrative as “proof” that he was right in his assessment of Trump. I could also find as many articles “proving” my assessment of Trump right as I received from my boss and send them to him as my counter points, but I refrained from doing so because I understood that it would not sway his opinions at all. That is because his notion of Trump was built on irrationality and confirmation bias. Mine too was, to an extent, based on the same. I say to an extent because Trump has now won, proving that he is a master persuader, which means my notion of him was not totally based on irrationality.

So, are my boss and everyone who mocked Trump stupid? Not really. They were misinformed. When there are multiple universes in the media pushing different narratives it is easy to get misled.

In order to avoid being misled by media narratives, one must understand the following three concepts:

We are irrational

When following media narratives, ask yourself if you are really qualified to accurately assess the individual or the situation you are forming an opinion about. In almost all cases, we are not. We are forming opinions all the time based on how we feel about the person or the situation. And how we feel about someone or something depends on how it is being presented to us.

In Trump’s case, people who followed the MSM saw Trump as racist, sexist, misogynist etc. because that’s how he was presented to them, not because he really is all that. Trump has been a public figure for years, but never has he been accused of any such thing until he ran for president. You ask why?

Confirmation bias

Once you form an opinion about someone or something based on how you feel (or how you are made to feel) about it, confirmation bias kicks in. Then you will start to notice and even actively seek information that will confirm your opinion, and everything that conflicts with your view will become virtually invisible to you.

In Trump’s case, once his initial image was formed in both the universes, every speech, statement and move made by his aides provided confirmation bias to the people on both sides. As more time went by, those who thought Trump was unfit to be president saw him even more unfit, and vice versa took place on the other side.

Cognitive dissonance

Once confirmation bias sets in, everything that conflicts with your view becomes virtually invisible to you. But what happens when something happens that is not only conflicting with your confirmation biased-fueled view but is also too in-your-face to be ignored? You guessed right: cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance is mental discomfort you feel when what you see (reality) does not match with your beliefs. The stronger your beliefs, the more the dissonance. To counter cognitive dissonance, you make up irrational hypotheses to justify your views in the face of conflicting information.

Look at the numerous hypotheses that have come out about why Trump won, none of which credit his persuasion skills or his intrinsic fitness to be president – because that would conflict with their views of Trump! There could not be more glaring example of cognitive dissonance.

How to proceed?

Be cognizant of the ubiquitous human irrationality, confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance, and learn about all point-of-views presented in the media.

In Trump’s case almost all of the MSM was against him, but people with Internet access and genuine interest in politics have no excuse for not scrutinizing both narratives. Once you start the practice of looking at all sides along with being aware of the aforementioned psychological traps that will keep you from objectivity, you will start to recognize patterns.

Pattern-recognition comes about with experience. Once you start recognizing patterns you will see a bigger picture about everything (patterns appear only in bigger view) and you will be better able to choose the right narrative.

During the Trump election I saw the following:

  • Hollywood celebrities were for Hillary, army Generals were for Trump.
  • Pro-immigration liberals were for Hillary, nationalist conservatives were for Trump.
  • Young people were for Hillary, experienced were for Trump.
  • MSM were for Hillary, citizen journalists and social media were for Trump.
  • Beta males were for Hillary, masculine men were for Trump.

These are just a few of the many observations, but they are enough to provide a clear pattern that made me choose Trump as my candidate. Supporters of Trump across categories, in my view, are superior class of people.

You may not see the same pattern as I see here. But this is just one pattern. There are always more patterns, complex and multi-layered, some too intricate to articulate. The point is, if you avoid the psychological traps and study all the narratives, the patterns will emerge that will make you better informed.

Will it always make you choose the right narrative? That’s too much to expect, I’d say. Does it seem like a lot of work then? Maybe, but it’s still worth it.

Smart Managers And Subordinates

How should #OfficeSmart managers and subordinates view each other?

Being in middle management position in a corporation I have acquired experience as subordinate as well as manager by making mistakes and learning lessons at both levels.

Sharing some thoughts – in the form of aphorisms – to put things in perspective for managers and subordinates as to how each should view the other in office.

Managers fail by being too nice to subordinates. Subordinates fail by expecting too high ethics from the management. Because in being so, both lose focus from what matters at each level.

A manager does not need to be nice at the cost of work extraction from subordinates. A subordinate does not need to expect high management ethics at the cost of good relation with the manager.

That is, of course, if they want to succeed in the company. (Success = recognition from superiors > growth).

A manager should be concerned with getting the subordinates’ work, not their respect. Subordinates should be concerned with the manager’s respect, not his work (management style towards them).

If subordinates give work and don’t respect the manager, it should not matter to the manager. If the manager respects the subordinate but his management style is bad, it should not matter to the subordinate.

Some managers worry about losing subordinates’ respect and fail to extract work. Some subordinates overtly keep finding fault with the management style and fail to earn respect of the manager.

Both of the above – managers who overrate respect from subordinates and subordinates who underrate respect from the manager – are playing it wrong.

An office is not a place where one should expect to find saints (message to subordinates), nor should one expect to reap rewards for being saintly (message to managers).

Office smartness is to have only and only one focus that is growth, and doing what it takes to grow in the company. Ethics are useful only insofar as they serve the goal.

Share this post with anyone you know who is working in office. I’ll also post more thoughts on this topic on Twitter with hashtag #OfficeSmart. Follow me.

Cardinal Rules For Office

If you are working in office, below are the rules you must observe if you want to grow in the company. Do not underestimate the importance of any of them. I have learned these things the hard way.

I’ll call it being office smart.

Keep your thoughts to yourself

At office, it is a mistake to express your real thoughts, ideologies and political views. Don’t even share your thoughts on social media unless you can keep your social media profiles hidden from everyone at office. Not only should you not share your own thoughts, you must also keep from sharing random jokes, quotes and memes.

By expressions of the aforementioned sort you will likely go out of favor with your superiors. You will either offend someone, or make them insecure by outshining them. You may affect their ego even by expressing an innocuous opinion that is different from theirs. This may not happen all the time. But there is no way for you to know what will affect whom, in what way and to what extent.

If you are pressed to reveal your thoughts on any subject, modestly say you don’t consider yourself to be learned on it but tend to agree with their (the person you are with) views. Everyone likes people who have the same views as them!

Remain intellectually mediocre

Your growth in a company depends on intellectual mediocrity. You may be Einstein or Aristotle, but no one cares. Mind your work and be good at it. Showing your intellectual superiority will get you labelled as weirdo. Office is not the place to showcase your intellect.

Have you ever seen anyone in higher management who is intellectual? I haven’t. And even if some day I see one, I’m sure being intellectual is not a pre-requisite for growth in management hierarchy.

Be mysterious

There are many advantages of being mysterious. Don’t give anyone at work – especially the superiors – a window into your mind. Your bosses need to know only one thing about you – your capabilities at work. Be the best at your work.

For best being marginally better than everyone else at your level would suffice. When you are good at your work and rest all about you is mystery, there is nothing about you that will give negative impression. Plus, your work related capabilities will create a halo effect. People will fill in the blanks and practically assume positives of you in other areas based on the fact that you are good at work.

Don’t reveal your moods

Learn to keep poker face most of the time. Don’t be over enthusiastic when you are happy (you got praise, promotion or some achievement at work), and don’t ever show anger or frustration. The former will make people jealous and/or insecure, and the latter will get you labelled as immature.

Remain calm and composed always. Smile at appropriate moments, like when you see/greet someone. When at desk, poker face is what you want to keep irrespective of your mood.

Give your boss gifts

Everyone likes gifts. Remember, even an enemy likes receiving gifts. Giving your boss a gift occasionally (like on a birthday) may work wonders.

Don’t worry that your boss will suspect you of ass-licking. In a way it is. But giving a birthday gift is perfectly legitimate. Just don’t tell everyone when you do that. You want to be the only one (or of the few) to give gifts to the boss.

If the boss doesn’t like your idea, it’s a bad idea

You can definitely think “out-of-the-box” and provide suggestions, but if your boss dismisses the idea, give it up right that moment. Do not try to make him understand how your idea is better unless he asks you to explain at length. Remember, the boss always knows better. He sees things that you can’t see. (Of course, I’m being sarcastic.)

Know that if you have a different idea than your boss about something, it is good only if its implementation is going to benefit your boss. If you are thinking of sharing the idea because it is morally superior or for some such reason, don’t proceed. If the idea is not benefiting the boss, he does not care how superior it is.

Talk to your boss like his dad died today

I couldn’t stop laughing when a good friend of mine offered me this gem of an advice. This is the frame you want to keep every time you talk to your boss. Whenever your boss enters your vicinity tell yourself that his dad has died today.

Would you show your excitement about anything to him when his dad has just died? Or would you show your frustration about work? Or would you complain about anything? Or argue? Or would you make a joke at his expense? You get the drift.

Don’t dress better than your boss

You may have a very good knowledge of fashion and dressing sense, but don’t make a mistake of dressing better than your boss. If the clothes and accessories on you are better than your boss, that will make him feel insecure and threatened.

You don’t want to outshine your master.

There’s no room for political incorrectness

This is one of the most important rules you absolutely must remember at all times. I have already stated above that you should keep your thoughts and ideologies to yourself, and that point covers this. However, I can’t emphasize enough how fatal being politically incorrect at office can be.

In case you don’t know what it means, if you are against man-woman equality, feminism, gay rights, fat-is-beautiful culture, or any other issue on the liberal agenda, it would be the end of your growth, and probably even employment, if you express it to anyone at the office.

Share this post with anyone you know who is working in office. I’ll also post more thoughts on this topic on Twitter with hashtag #OfficeSmart. Follow me.