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How to Bust Myths and Always Find out the Truths

How to Bust Myths and Always Find out the Truths

Do you cringe every time Mercury is in retrograde? Do you avoid leaving your house during the full moon because you find that people act differently during that time? There are so many unpredictable aspects of life that it is tempting to find ways to make sense of our world by making false connections.

We trick ourselves into making connections.

Most people are convinced that the full moon makes other behave strangely even though there is no scientific evidence to support that claim.[1] This belief in the connection between two unrelated things is called an illusory-correlation bias.[2]

We’re all kidding ourselves when we don’t understand the difference between correlation and causation.

Causal analysis can help you determine whether two variables have a relationship base on correlation or causation. Through causal analysis you can identify problems, determine their causes, and develop a plan to correct the situation.[3] When two variables correlate, it means that they have a linear relationship.[4]When you wore your lucky shoes and nailed that job interview, there is a linear relationship between the shoes and the interview.

Causation is the extent to which the two variables depend on one another. When the sun beats down on pavement, we know that the pavement will be warm. The sun causes the temperature of the surface to rise. In this case the sun and the heat of the pavement have both a correlative and a causative relationship. Your lucky shoes didn’t cause you to ace your interview, though.

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How can we apply causal analysis to our lives?

Wouldn’t it be nice to understand which variables really led to your success instead of giving all your power to your lucky shoes? Identifying root causes not only enables us to prevent problems, but it can help us understand the great things we are already doing. Maybe on the day of your interview, you were confident, prepared, and passionate. Give yourself some credit!

To use a practical example, causal analysis could show a restaurant manager that the full moon isn’t what led to the rush of uncooperative customers at dinnertime. During that shift, the most inexperienced employees were scheduled to work together on the busiest night of the week, which happened to coincide with the full moon. The food came out slowly, which frustrated the servers. The customers were unhappy because they had to wait, and their dinner got cold in the process.

If the restaurant manager continued to blame the moon, he or she would miss an opportunity to prevent another disastrous night. In the future, the manager might choose to schedule more experienced and faster workers during the busiest nights of the week.

Bust through your illusions with a causal layered analysis iceberg

You can imagine your problem as an iceberg.[5] Perceptions about a problem, known as the litany, are the tip of the iceberg. Your belief that your day is ruined because a black cat crossed your path is part of the litany. Just below the surface, our iceberg supports the litany through social causes. Maybe you connect black cats to the worst day that you ever had.

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Causal layered analysis doesn’t stop there, though, and our goal is to break apart the illusory-correlation bias between black cats and the quality of your day. Perhaps in your culture, black cats are bad luck. Worldview is the third layer of your iceberg, and it lends support to social beliefs and the litany.

The lowest level of the iceberg is comprised of myths and metaphors. These are old beliefs that underpin worldviews. Many people think that black cats are bad luck because of a long-standing association between cats and witchcraft and the historical belief that cats smothered children while they slept [6]

When you recognize that you have constructed a false narrative, you can work to overcome it. A black cat may have crossed your path as you received bad news, and since it was such a terrible day, your mind easily associated the cat with something negative. This negative association was reinforced by culture, worldview, and myths. The cat has a correlative relationship to the bad day, but it didn’t cause it.

How can we avoid falling into the illusory-correlation trap?

Follow these steps to get to the core of a problem and verify causal relationships:[7]

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  1. Identify the problem. What are you trying to change about your business or your life?
  2. Compile data related to the problem. Include quantitative and qualitative data. You may have access to sales numbers or historical data. In other cases, your information may be anecdotal. All of it can play a role in getting to the root of a problem.
  3. Name potential causes for the problem. Be generous and note anything that comes to mind.
  4. Determine what you can do to correct the issue. What are the actionable measures that you can take to change your situation? If you named a variable that correlates to the issue but doesn’t cause it, then changing it isn’t going to have much effect. Real causative factors can have dramatic impacts when you change them.
  5. Identify sustainable solutions. While it may be tempting to attack a problem head-on, making changes strategically may work better. If all of your employees perform poorly, you could fire them. Chances are, this is going to have negative outcomes. Could you afford to retrain them instead?
  6. Engage in praxis. Most complex problems are a perfect storm of variables. Hold yourself accountable for making sure that your solutions work. Taking time to reflect and adjust your strategy gives you flexibility and enables you adapt to new variables as they arise.

It may also be helpful to use a Fishbone or Ishikawa Diagram to understand cause and effect relationships.[8] The diagram makes it easier to visualize the first three steps of causal analysis.

    In the above example, you can see the the problem is bad coffee. The categories that affect coffee quality (procedures, people, equipment, and material) are the ribs of the fish in the diagram. The arrows coming from each category name variables that could contribute to poor outcomes. After you’ve mapped potential causes, it will be up to you and your team to complete the causal analysis by developing, acting on, and evaluating your action plan .

    What’s the easiest way to identify causal relationships?

    The quickest way to find a solution is to view your problem objectively.

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    When we muddle our vision with cultural baggage and superstition, we lose sight of variables that do have a causal relationship to the issue. If you catch yourself falling victim to illusory-correlation bias, know that you are not alone. Many of us have blamed a red herring at least once in our lives. The trick is to use clear causal analysis so that we can disrupt negative patterns and discover better solutions.

    Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

    Reference

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    Angelina Phebus

    Writer, Yoga Instructor (RYT 200)

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    Last Updated on August 15, 2018

    How to Save a Bunch of Money Easily With This Simple Challenge

    How to Save a Bunch of Money Easily With This Simple Challenge

    Do you find it hard to save money? If so, you’re not alone. A recent survey found that 62% of Americans have under $1000 in savings.[1] This can be disconcerting when we think about the future – buying a house, car, or even much-needed holidays – our desire to be successful in saving money is important to our peace of mind and security. But could there be a simple and easy way to encourage our saving habits?

    Video Summary

    What is the 52-Week Money Challenge?

    A new concept has become increasingly popular that does just that – the 52-week money challenge.

    The idea is to focus on each week, starting small, and gradually building up the amount of money you save. It’s not only consistent, but it takes away the pressure of taking big chunks of income each month which, let’s face it, never feels great. Intrigued? This is how it works.

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    You start by saving just $1 in week 1. The next week it’s $2, the third week it’s $3 and so on. The idea is that by week 52 when you’ve saved $52 in that weekly period, you will have amassed $1,378.

    What Are the Pros and Cons?

    The best thing about this 52-week money challenge is anyone can do it. It’s doable and you can adapt it to your needs.

    For example, you can reverse the process by saving $52 in week 1 and working backwards. This is particularly beneficial for people worried about having to put away $52 during the end of the year holidays.

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    You could even mix the amounts up according to how much or how little you have each week, making smaller contributions when the purse strings are tighter or choose a higher amount when you can afford more. Either way, it’s a solid, simple way to save up a sizeable chunk.

    There are potential cons to this challenge. One is that it can be hard if you’re used to handing over your debit card instead of using cash. But setting up a bank transfer could help here.

    Want to Try the 52-Week Money Challenge? Here’s How to Get Started

    Whether it’s saving for a holiday, putting more towards your mortgage or other monthly or yearly bills, starting this challenge will get you motivated to putting aside those all-important dollars.

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    Write It Out

    Write out (or print out) a list of each week and the amount to save. Having it as a reference will allow you to see your progress. Cross off each week or each amount you’ve managed to achieve.

    Set Up Reminders

    Once you’ve reached a few weeks it can be easy to start forgetting to put your money aside. Make sure you set up a weekly reminder on your phone or desktop to help you keep on top of it. Keep the cash jar in a place where you can see it and will serve as a reminder. Alternatively, set up an automatic bank transfer so you don’t have to think about it at all.

    Make a List of Ways You Can Save

    There are literally hundreds of ways you can save dollars here and there. The first weeks will be easy but as it progresses, finding ways to tuck away $40 or more can get tricky but it’s not impossible.

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    Think of ways to cut back or generate money – these could include:

    • Selling unwanted items
    • Making gifts for people instead of buying
    • Switching off your heating for longer periods
    • Car sharing to save petrol
    • Walking instead of driving
    • Negotiating a better contract for your phone, heating or water supply
    • Switching off unneeded lights
    • Cooking big meals and freezing them for future meals
    • Looking for deals or discounts at your grocery store
    • Choosing shop brands over big brands
    • Making your lunch instead of buying it

    Once you have a list of practical ways you can save, estimate how much money could could potentially save for each one. For example, buying lunch every day could cost $5-10 so ultimately saving you around $30 a week if you made your lunch instead.

    Be Competitive

    Why not turn this challenge into one with your friends or spouse? Having someone there to motivate you will spur you on and keep you on track. Have an incentive going like the person who saves the most money gets to choose the next big vacation.

    Every Little Helps

    The main importance of the 52-week money challenge is that it’s encouraging you to save. If 62% of Americans are not regularly saving then it shows that anything that’s getting you to put a few dollars aside every week is better than not saving at all.

    Remember, it’s the small steps that lead to the big progression. Don’t feel discouraged if you can’t fulfil an amount in a particular week, just know that your willingness to put a strategy in place is good enough. Keep a positive mindset and see how it’ll reflect the money you’ll ultimately save in a year.

    Reference

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