Cart Before Horse

If the goal is to make less mistakes, then we ought to first understand how we make mistakes. Because if we don’t understand how we make mistakes, we will continue making the same mistakes, even worse, not know until it’s too late.

Before you read another book, or read the Bible, or make another decision, or voice an opinion on social media — you ought to consider reading The Undoing Project. If you do not have time to read the entire book, I suggest reading Chapter 6 The Mind’s Rules and you will quickly realize the importance of reading the rest of the book.

The point remains that people do not follow the correct rule, when left to their own devices.
— The Undoing Project

Last I checked, The Bible explains why the above quote happens, but I’ll leave that for another post.

There are two errors when it comes to understanding how we make judgments and decisions. One is to believe we understand how our mind works. The other is to believe we understand, and to not feel a need to question what we believe. Considering we use our minds everyday, we ought to understand how the mind works. It should come before anything else. We need to be careful we are not putting the cart before the horse.

The Internet is the most insidious source of bullshit and misinformation in human history. The book captures nicely how we deceive ourselves without knowing through the mysteries of the mind.

Following is an example of something I took away from the book.

What happened to Jane was serious. Jane committed to a biblical worldview in which Jane’s interpretation of the Bible made sense, and that afternoon Jane saw the appeal of another worldview in which Jane’s interpretation of the Bible looked silly. Jane wonders how she could have made such a silly mistake.

Something can make perfect sense to Jane, at the same time, be completely wrong. Everything we do and believe can be traced back to one thing, how we think.

Two Choices

An example of why we need to question our intuition.

Imagine a Y in the road ahead. We have two choices, ( a ) go left, or ( b ) go right. One is a choice based on how we feel (gut instinct). The other is a choice knowing which way to go.

There will be two different destinations ahead depending on which way we turn (two different outcomes). One will take us to our destination, the other will take us to an unknown destination.

Do not trust anyone, including yourself, to tell you how much you should trust their judgment.
— Daniel Kahneman Ph.D., Psychology

The driver has GPS and knows going left is correct, but the passengers intuition says go right (not knowing the driver has GPS). The drivers decision was strategic from the start. Having a strategy helps make sure we hit the target. We need to choose our paths carefully. This is why we get lost and stop to ask for directions. We use GPS because we know our intuition or (gut feelings) are not always right.

Pseudo-experts

The other day I found myself in a discussion about the difference between an expert and non-expert. I gave it some thought over the past couple days.

The difference between an expert and a pseudo-expert is that experts are self-evident. They are simply expert because they treat everything like it’s their job where pseudo-experts simply mimic experts like a parrot without putting in the effort.

Pseudo-experts lack the “real-world” progressive process engagement disciplines an expert goes through. It is not a pragmatic “hands-on” experience of deeper knowledge like an expert. The pseudo-experts’ process is to simply copy and repeat which often comes through their inauthentic persona because they lack the heuristics.

Experts are operationally defined as those who have been recognized within their profession as having the necessary skills and abilities to perform at the highest level.
— James Shanteau Ph.D., Psychologist

Think of pseudo-experts as social media actors lacking experience although they believe they are. They fail to recognize their limited experience, false sense of reality, and illusion of validity comes from copying experts. Which is why they seem disconnected and fall apart when questioned on the work they copy.

And finally, copycats are followers, not leaders, yet you’ll find them in positions as leaders. I suppose that would make them pseudo-leaders or something. I’m not sure, I would need to think about it more.

Does that make sense? Surely there is more to it than a surface perspective.

Quote Source: Shanteau, James. (1992). Competence in experts: The role of task characteristics. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 53, 252–262.

Did you know? The male African gray parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is the most accomplished user of human speech in the animal world; this rain forest-dweller is an uncanny mimic. – National Geographic

Necessary but not Sufficient

Using something such as a paint brush is not sufficient to understanding it in the same way reading a book is not sufficient to understanding it. The Bible is an exceptional example because it can be read and interpreted differently, however, that does not mean we understand it. We think we understand until we take a closer look and different parsing of the text “in context” of Scripture.

The brush, although a necessary part of painting, may not be sufficient for reaching our full potential in the same way reading a book on Goals is no guarantee we’ll ever achieve goals. We need to understand why we fail at accomplishing things to avoid failure.

Understanding anything takes a disciplined, data-driven methodology to distinguish the difference between thinking we understand and knowing we understand. I am all for wanting to do things the easy way or take the shortest route, but I know, that only gets me so far. Let’s face it, we need to step outside our comfort zone to make things happen. We need to think and look at things differently.

Necessary But Not Sufficient
Eliyahu M. Goldratt , Carol A. Ptak

Know Things

Do you know how when you read the Bible and all of a sudden it hits you and you realize God’s higher power and intelligence makes everything you thought you knew seem a bit silly?

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding
— Proverbs 3:13

It’s like that. #perspective

We tend to think we know things only to discover someone else knows more. We should keep an open mind and listen carefully because there is a difference between thinking we know and knowing. Let me share a valuable lesson I’ve learned being in business 30 years.

We won’t fix anything correctly until the problem is fully understood.

A team of researches at the University of Oregon explored the link between cognitive control and intelligence in several ways including an attempt to raise intelligence by improving the control of attention.

In one exercise they found test participants were prone to answer questions with the first idea that comes to mind and unwilling to invest the effort needed to check their intuitions. Theses individuals scored low on the test.

Can I Be Wrong

One of the things I find most interesting about what I do is discovering the insignificance in what others do or teach. It’s not an intentional endeavor, rather the result of a natural process. Elon Musk also touched on this area in an interview with Khan Academy.

You can sit through countless seminars, read books, studies and academic papers all you want, but if what you’re consuming doesn’t matter, you’re wasting your time. We need to be able to trace back to the root of things to get a clearer picture and better understanding of what is important, what is not, and where our focus should be.

People act on their priorities. Observe closely.
Paul Carrick Brunson

We tend to go through a process in our mind called confirmation bias where we search for things that support what we believe rather than searching for things to disprove what we believe. If all we ever do is search for things to support our beliefs, we ignore all of the things to validate their significance. We ignore the inconvenient truth. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning.

By definition, its wrong.

We need to be able to look at our presuppositions then probe our presuppositions for coherence. Once we impose a systematic treatment of our beliefs with a specific eye, we take-away a different parsing of how we look at things. There is nothing so useless as wasting time on meaningless things.

Source

Changing Your Mind

Let me paraphrase a world-renowned Stanford University psychologist in the fields of personality, social psychology, and developmental psychology.

Books with titles such as Seven Secrets of Successful People often contain disconnected pointers such as “Take more risks” or “Think Positive”, “Believe in yourself”, “Work Smarter” and just about every other successpiration you’ll see online, but its never clear how these things connect, not to mention, how to become that way.

So, you may feel inspired for a hot minute then you’re right back to your normal-self all-the-while successful people still hold their secrets.

Whatever it is that you want to call success, it begins with changing your mind.

Success is a state of mind, not an adjective. The ability to change your mind is probably one of the best life skills to develop. We should never hold any position so closely that we aren’t willing to change it.

Always be Knowing

Work on expanding ‘what we know’ beyond the ‘edge of our competency’ eclipsing ‘what we think we know’ and operate in that space where the magic happens. Here’s another way of looking at this. Here is you now. Here is where you think you are. Here is where you could be. Always be knowing.