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.

Arbitrary Goals

“If your metric for the value of success by worldly standards is “buy a house” and “have a nice car” and you spend twenty years working your ass off to achieve it; once it’s achieved, the metric has nothing left to give you.

Its growth that generates happiness, not a long list of arbitrary achievements. In this sense, goals, as they are conventionally defined, “graduate from college,” “buy a lake house,” “lose 15 pounds” are limited in the amount of happiness they can produce in our lives. They may be helpful when pursuing quick short-term benefits, but as guides for the overall trajectory of our life, they suck.”

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
Mark Manson Chapter 7 – 7:48

Arbitrary – based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.

A meaningful goal would be to become smarter in order to identify what is meaningful.

It’s Not Red

We all know someone who enjoys arguing, but for the wrong reason. We could be holding a STOP sign and they’ll argue it’s not red. It can be a mind-blowing experience. We become frustrated and confused by why they fail to see things for what they are. Perhaps we need to be reminded of what the good book says. “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words.” Proverbs 23:9

The purpose of argument should not be victory, but progress.

It reminds me when Yuri Bezmenov said, “Exposure to true information does not matter any more. A person who is demoralized is unable to assess true information. The facts tell nothing to him. Even if I shower him with information, with authentic proof, with documents, with pictures, even if I take him by force […] he will refuse to believe it.”

The power of deception is fascinating!

Power of Deception

The greatest thing preventing the truth from revealing itself to you is, believing you already discovered it. We need to be carful not to hold so tightly to any belief in place of new evidence. Our beliefs should always be in flux because we are constantly learning; basically how science works. People often have difficulty changing their beliefs. We can witness the struggle by how people handle new evidence. Rather than accepting new evidence, they’ll often argue in favor of their false beliefs.

People tend to deceive themselves because they lack the necessary knowledge or discipline required to discover the truth. It could be the Bible, a product, a conspiracy theory, whatever. No one who is deceived believes they are deceived and no one is exempt from being deceived. Deception is in full-force all of the time. It’s everyone’s problem.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.
— Richard Feynman

Surely you’ve heard, “the devil is in the details.” It simply means the details of a matter are its most problematic aspect. Once we understand the details, only then we discover truth. Few people bother searching for the truth. Information today is too readily available and easily acquired without questioning it. People dislike discovering when they are wrong because discovering the truth requires facing a reality of deception.

When the mind of a person under strong deception is called into question, they often turn to an attitude of resistance, name calling, and sometimes anger. It becomes difficult acknowledging they have been deceived, either by their own doing, or by something learned elsewhere. The truth about their situation becomes that much more painful. It should not be about being right or wrong, it should be about discovering and knowing the truth.

Insightful thinking

I was reading an article on Psychology Today about insightful thinking and came across this…

I focus on what the author did not say.

Focusing on what wasn’t said helps us stimulate the mind to seek other possibilities. In my case, I am looking for more and more causes and sources behind the details of something that apply to what I’m working on. One example was this past election. During the debates, I focused on what wasn’t being said (reading between the lines) so-to-speak rather than focusing on meaningless things.


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.

Choices and Outcomes

On the topic of Fixed or Growth mindsets, it would be interesting to discuss a few arguments, topics, tasks, strategies or product ideas and explore ‘what-if’ scenarios depending on our choices (how we process information before we open our mouth or make a decision). Then compare the outcomes.

We can talk a lot about a fixed-mindset because it can be witnessed so readily in every day life. People with a fixed-mindset are often stuck in their comfort zone. They are literally stuck because they ignore all of the things (feedback) that could push them forward either because they were told to or their fixed-mindset automatically rejects anything negative. We can learn how to move away from a fixed-mindset into a growth-mindset by expanding our comfort zone.

A fixed-mindset doesn’t easily allow you to change course.
— Carol Dweck Ph.D.

As long as we are trying something new, we’re learning, we’re growing. What we do for a living is much less important than how we do it, but results take effort. We don’t just wish success into existence. The first step is becoming aware of how we process information. We need to recognize when we’re closing the door on opportunities.

I have a lot on my plate at the moment, but once the smoke clears, this is something I would definitely like to explore later (maybe in a podcast). We could talk about some very practical day-to-day choices.

Be Informed

I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.
Charlie Munger

A fixed-mindset ignores useful negative feedback (intelligence is static) while a growth-mindset learns from criticism (intelligence can be developed). This might explain why some companies are static, unchanging, archaic, complacent, lack problem solving and true innovation.

These are fundamental differences in how the two mindsets process information where the former is unaware of the benefits of the latter.

If we are willing to dish-out opinions, we ought to be prepared to listen to facts. The moment we refuse to hear facts is the moment we refuse to learn something against our beliefs.

Exposure to true information does not matter any more. A person who is demoralized is unable to assess true information. The facts tell nothing to him. Even if I shower him with information, with authentic proof, with documents, with pictures, even if I take him by force […] he will refuse to believe it.
Yuri Bezmenov

Yuri’s job was deception. If you find yourself in a position refusing to accept the evidence people provide, that might be a warning sign you are deceiving yourself.