This month’s fastBREAK: Lies was an engaging look at deception. Early risers were treated with five individual stories about the nature of lying and how it seeps into every day life.
First up was Simon Cant, the Founder and Director of CANTT, an organisation dedicated to helping companies reach their full potential. Cant’s passion for innovation and change was evident from the start. Engaging the audience immediately, he questioned the attitude of industries affected by constant disruption.
The biggest lie industries tell themselves, according to Cant, is that things don’t improve: “[We think] that something that starts out poor quality, is not actually going to ultimately be something that we’re all able to use.”
Cant spoke of Wikipedia and Youtube as examples of ideas that started out small and possibly flawed, but turned into something massive.
Another lie that plagues change was the idea that internal innovation works: “I, at times, have possibly told myself ‘If you’re being disrupted, internal innovation can save you. The reality is, most of the time it can’t.’”
Cant moved on to remind the audience of the demise of, the once popular, Myspace, GeoCites and Flickr. Cant says that this is a clear indicator that buying out companies does not always work.
So how does a company overcome the dangers of lying? According to Cant, the solution comes with willingly giving up control. Quoting Dreamwork’s Kung Fu Panda, Cant said: “I’m going to tell you one truth about innovation, which I learnt because I have an eleven-year-old son and watch a lot of kids’ videos: ‘The panda will never fulfil his destiny, nor you yours, till you let go of the illusion of control’ It’s the illusion of control that is making these companies strangle themselves.”
Following Cant was Hannah Law’s more personal take on the act of lying. Law, the head of social media at Switched on Media, recounted the ‘harmless’ little white lies she told one seemingly average day.
The first was the deliberate purchase of a concession train ticket, despite not being a student or pensioner. The second occurred upon greeting a client early in the morning: “I was like ‘Hey, it’s so great to see you,’ when really I don’t think it’s great to see anyone before 8:30 in the morning.”
The third lie, Law says, is one most women are guilty of: the ‘I’m fine, nothing is wrong’ excuse.
While lying is understandably seen in a negative light, Law pointed out that there is a particular science behind a lie.
“There’s a rational view about lying that actually says we think about it like a cost/benefit relationship. We kind of weigh up what we stand to gain from the lie based on what the punishment might be,” said Law.
Law ended by concluding that white lies aren’t all that bad. She said: “at the end of the day, it’s not lying, it’s just airbrushing.”
Next up was magician Jack ‘Hiltini’ Hilton. Calling upon an unsuspecting audience member, Hilton demonstrated the art behind successfully lying.
After a series of questions and commands, such as ‘imagine you’re sitting in front of your date’, Hilton accurately described her perfect night out and even managed to deduce the name of the someone she was picturing: Dave.
Not revealing his secret, Hilton invited audiences to approach him after his talk if they were interested in uncovering his ‘lies’.
While some people are comfortable living with illusion for the sake for fun, for Tim Burrowes, lying is more than just a form of entertainment, it’s essential.
Burrowes, the founding editor of mUmBRELLA spoke about his inability to remember faces, a condition more commonly known as prosopagnosia.
From mistaking his personal trainer as a waiter to unknowingly engaging in a lengthy conversation with an ex-girlfriend, Burrowes looks to lying to strategically avoid potential embarrassment.
“The lies, the practiced behaviour is how you condition yourself, how you behave. Anytime I’m introduced to by somebody else, I’ll always use the words ‘good to see you’ just in case I have met them”, said Burrowes.
Having never spoken about his condition before, Burrowes confessed the need to open up about his lies, “I think it’s probably time to stop lying and out myself. I’m pleased to meet you again.”
To end things off, Dev Singh, founder and director of Sketchpad Ideas shared his journey from a life threatening illness to building his career.
Upon speaking about his decision to take up medicine, Singh confessed, “I was living a lie… We all lie in many ways. There are certain lies we have that we convince ourselves are true, and they’re not.”
According to the enigmatic entrepreneur, there are three specific lies man business-minded people tell themselves.
The first: things will work out for me.
While recognising the value of positive thinking, Singh pointed out the danger of over doing it.
“I’m not saying that optimism is bad, but sometimes what happens is, when you’re optimistic you get pushed over the edge. And when you get pushed over the edge, what do you fall into? You fall into waiting for things to happen to you.”
Second on the list was the idea that money is not important.
“They convince themselves they don’t care about money because there’s an association with money and greed,” said Singh.
Lastly, it is the illusion of under qualification that can plague the development of an innovative idea.
Inspired by this month’s topic, Singh has decided to pen a book on the topic of lies and how destructive they can be.
Join us on August 24 for fastBREAK: Danger, the next installment in the fastBREAK series. Curious about what to expect? Click here for videos of past fastbreak events. Don’t forget to like our Facebook page for regular news and update