Once, when I was a Teaching Assistant for a 3rd year Computer Science course, I had to invigilate a couple students while they took a midterm. For reasons deemed legitimate, they had been absent the day the exam was given. After time was up, one of the students started a conversation with me and mentioned he had his own cryptocurrency company. I thought it was impressive that he was making time for entrepreneurship. But when I mentioned it to my friends, they pointed out that this was just talk. Anyone can “have a company”.

For some reason, I tend to believe people if they say something earnestly. If they don’t have a good reason to believe it, surely they wouldn’t be saying it so comfortably. Liers exist, but they telegraph their lies with their discomfort. Aren’t we too old to just be making shit up?

Ok, I figured, I guess there will always be phonies. People who put up fronts, people who want to be seen as more than they are. You can keep an eye out for them and weed them out. They can fool you for a while, but eventually they expose themselves.

But this binary is false, too. We all slip into moments of dishonesty. We overstate what we know, we over-represent ourselves. We round up from pretty sure to absolutely sure. We indulge our ego, we protect it from our doubts. We choose certainty for practical purposes.

And then there are some people who just say shit. They don’t pause to ask themselves, Wait, do I know what I’m talking about? They open their mouth and let the thing run. They have scant foresight of what will come out and little interest in examining it in retrospect.

If you ever find yourself thinking, Hmm, I’m pretty sure I’m right, but they seem so confident, Remember: people just say shit.