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You’ll No Longer Be Fooled by Skillful Liars If You Know This Concept

You’ll No Longer Be Fooled by Skillful Liars If You Know This Concept

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who was convincing you about something, only to find out later they left out half the story? It’s easy to find yourself taking a stance and forming opinions based on a single side of things, especially if the information presented seems very declarative and all-encompassing.

But card-stacking – also known as cherry picking, a one-sided argument or suppressing evidence – intentionally seeks to make people believe one side is the entire story.[1] This can lead to false conclusions, misinformation or a complete misunderstanding of a situation.

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It can also have a devastating impact on our lives, socially or politically. One of the most prominent issues in media news today comes from the development of two narratives in media reporting that stem from willful card-stacking on the part of mostly conservative media organizations.[2] You can even see the issue take place on a smaller, personal scale, when two individuals have an argument and people take sides after hearing just one version of events.

Card stacking tricks you by giving you the false impression that you’re fully educated on a subject

Card stacking works by not just presenting only one side of an argument but intentionally suppressing a listener’s knowledge of other arguments or evidence related to a subject. Commonly employed in political ads or public relations campaigns, card stacking gives the listener the false impression that they’re being fully educated on a subject when they may in fact be presented with misinformation or information taken out of context.

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For example, someone wanting to defend a John Doe may take a quote that says “I do not support John Doe and dislike him, although many people say he is a great man,” and then present someone only with “Many people say he is a great man.” This would technically not be a wrong quote, but it is willfully taken out of context in order to bolster a particular argument. It provides a listener with what appears to be solid evidence, thereby appealing to a sense of authority, and discourages the listener from questioning the accuracy of the quote.

On a larger scale, this can involve intentionally providing testimonials or evidence that comes to a particular conclusion, while willfully ignoring, leaving out or failing to seek out information or testimonials that leads to a different conclusion.

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Some biased political polls is done based on the concept of card stacking

Cherry picking often comes down to a misrepresentation of events or information based on presenting an analysis that is incomplete or incorrect. Some biased political polls, for example, are conducted in such a way to obtain opinions from primarily older people who haven’t abandoned old habits – such as having a landline – leading to a conservative slant in poll responses.[3] Or they will call only cell phones, which leads to a decidedly liberal slant. Although this isn’t an example of willful cherry picking, it is an example of a well-known weakness in polling methods that political pundits may intentionally ignore or fail to mention when presenting the poll results.

The sense of skepticism is the best tool to combat card stacking

Individuals can combat this by learning to keep skepticism about them when receiving information from creepy guy types and other unreliable sources.[4] When someone provides you with a quote, search for the full context the quote was delivered in to understand precisely what the speaker meant.

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If an expert presents you with a poll analysis, search for the compiled poll results yourself, and then look at the methodology used to conduct the poll.

During an argument between two individuals, make the effort to listen to both stories (as well as other testimony) in order to understand both perspectives, rather than drawing a conclusion from one.

In general, a sense of skepticism about the information presented to you and a willingness to search for original data yourself will keep you from falling prey to card stacking misinformation. By learning to take the search for information into your own hands, you soon learn how to identify misrepresentation off the bat, which sources can be trusted and which cannot, and how to effectively form your own opinion about a subject. Make yourself an independent thinker and don’t let anyone manipulate you with misinformation or cherry picking.

Reference

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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