It’s a fine line.

Here’s the musical question asked over at The National Championship Issue about making predictions about the football season:

Are there ways to brag about correct predictions without people thinking you’re either a total moron or a total dick (or both)?

Fortunately, he says the answer is yes.  Otherwise, I was looking at scratching quite a few upcoming posts.  And it’s only fair to note that his point only applies to predictions.  There are still plenty of other ways for me to impress my readers here.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand.  Here’s how he suggests negotiating the waters:

Rule #1: Find the Right Balance – One of the keys to making solid predictions is knowing how assertive to make your statement. For instance, your predictions can’t be too easy, general, or popular. Predictions like “USC will win the Pac 10” or “Duke will win less than 5 games this year” are wimpy and nothing to brag about. At the same time, your prediction can’t be too tough, improbable, or against the grain, mainly because people won’t believe that it wasn’t just luck. But you can shade to the assertive side and go out on more limbs if you…

Rule #2: Reveal Some of Your Methods – This is important because it’s the main weapon you have to prove that you’re not just relying on luck. Showing your mental path and how you reached your prediction will help prove that you actually thought it out and are basing it on information, evidence, and your own skills. It’s not that you have to give everything away or reveal your Uber-Secret Predicting Formula to the world, but you really have to have some sort of proof that your guess is based on more than just luck.

Rule #3: Admit Your Mistakes – This rule is all about not being seen as a dick. Really, how many sportswriters and broadcasters do you know who come up with wild predictions, and then when they’re completely off-base never man up to being wrong? But then when they do get something right the I-told-you-so’s start flying. It happens all the time. I’m not saying that you have to acknowledge every time you screw up, but a simple “Yeah, I was wrong on that one” every now and then can do wonders for your likability. Not owning up to your mistakes (or making excuses for them) is the mark of a true dick.

Mark May, I think you’re being paged, dude.


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