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.
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.