Figurative “sacred cows” are paradigms held in such high esteem that no one in a company will ever question them despite an overwhelming amount of evidence that they are no longer working (or may have never worked).

Famous Sacred Cows

Here are just a few of the more well-known sacred cows:

  • Zero is actually a number (Here is a brief History of Zero).
  • The earth is the center of the universe.
  • Diseases are caused by miasma (bad air).
  • Aether (Ether) is the medium for the transmission of light and radio waves.
  • Automobiles will never replace horses as a primary mode of transportation.
  • Women should not have the right to vote because they would stop marrying and having children, and the human race would die out.
  • Computers will never be in our homes.

Limiting Beliefs

Sacred cows become limiting beliefs and, in may cases, self-fulfilling prophecies (i.e., an explanation or prediction that causes itself to be true).

The “Law of Attraction,” where like attracts like, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. “Fake it till you make it,” imitating confidence until it produces success, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. In hindsight, many historical sacred cows are humorous at best, and frightening at their worst.

Confidence vs. Arrogance

There is a thin line between confidence and arrogance. When arrogance replaces confidence, you have created a sacred cow. Humility creates that distinction.

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