Avoiding the trap questions | Seth’s Blog

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A trick question is designed to fool us into proposing the wrong answer (example below).

A trap question, on the other hand, stops the train completely.

A trap question demands an answer, and the answer will paralyze us and keep us from the work at hand.

“Yes, but how many followers does your brand have on Insta?” is a trap question. So is, “Are you sure you’re prepared enough for the talk you have booked next week?”

Trap questions bring out demands for perfectionism, or amplify feelings of shame. Trap questions ought to be ignored, avoided, or, if we must respond, simply say, “it’s not a priority.”

Time spent on trap questions is time you’ll never get back.


[Here’s the trick question, much easier now that you know that’s what it is. It was in the first batch of questions I created for Guts, the online game launched on Prodigy in 1989…]

Which of the following was a world boxing champion?

  1. Lyndon Johnson
  2. Ronald Reagan
  3. Jimmy Carter
  4. Franklin Delano
  5. Abraham Lincoln
  6. Pat Paulsen
  7. None of the above

˙ɹǝʇɹɐƆ ʇɐɥʇ ʇou ʇsnſ ˙(Ɛ) sᴉ ɹǝʍsuɐ ǝɥ┴ ˙(ㄥ) pǝʞɔᴉd ǝldoǝd ʇsoW



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