Letter Zero.57
Dear <<First Name>>, 

There’s a line at the top of Mount Everest right now. The month of May is selfie season in Nepal. One by one, the wealthy take their turn posing at the top of the world’s most intimidating peak. It’s a dangerous climb, to be sure, but the risks aren’t what you think. 

The danger isn’t the lack of oxygen. The danger is that they’ll let anyone climb the summit regardless of how unfit you are.

The danger isn’t the cold, the danger is the exposure as you wait in line for the people on the peak to clear out enough for you get get your turn standing on top. 

The danger isn’t the heights, the danger is getting bumped off the edge by the other selfie seekers puckering at the camera. 

The climb would be uncomfortable but between the sherpas and the helicopters, they’ll get you up there… as long as you can afford it. 

Much of User Zero is about creating mental tools to help us avoid being suckered. This involves deflating things like climbing Everest. Why does that impress us? Did you know that anyone can become a New York Times best seller for about $200,000? You can buy a Grammy on EBay. The cost of diplomas varies depending on what brand of education you want to claim. 

Even after purging ourselves from of the baggage of status signaling and resume stuffing, it will still be hard to identify the fakers among us. The only way I know of to identify the fraudsters is to spend enough time with people that their character (or their charade) is revealed. It can take a while. It’s a long hard climb and there are no shortcuts. 

I’ll write again soon. Stay creative.

Your friend,
Copyright © 2021 Adrian Hanft, All rights reserved.

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