You can also harness the limits of empathy for your own benefit, in what the author Cal Newport calls the Failed Simulation Effect. The way to really impress other people, he argues – he’s addressing students applying to university – isn’t to rack up achievements that are hard to do so much as hard to explain. If someone else “cannot mentally simulate the steps taken… to reach an accomplishment”, he says, they’ll be far more authentically awestruck. Magicians exploit this distinction all the time. Why shouldn’t you?
Suddenly much of the praise I’ve ever received from bosses, as well as where many of my plans for the future fail, is made clear. Makes perfect sense. Recipe for easy success: mainly work with people outside your own field?