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How “Science Says” Blinds Human Brains From Thinking Clearly

How “Science Says” Blinds Human Brains From Thinking Clearly

“Lies, damned lies, and statistics!” Have you heard this phrase before? It demonstrates how people can use statistics to strengthen arguments, specifically weak arguments.

    This simple comic demonstrates a logical fallacy we often fall for. We have all deferred to an expert or a position of authority before, yet how do we know they were accurate? This is called Authority Bias. Let’s take a look at how this works:[1]

    1. Person X is an authority in a particular field.
    2. Person X says something about a topic in their respective field.
    3. Person X is probably correct because they’re an expert.

    Another form of bias we typically fall victim to is Confirmation Bias. This occurs from the direct influence of desire on our beliefs. If we wish a certain idea or concept to be true, we end up believing it to be true. This leads to completely ignoring or rejecting information because we have already formed and embraced a specific belief. [2]

    We can never be 100% confident.

      A skeptical mind is a good thing. We can be 100% confident that we can never be 100% confident!

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      Let me show you what I mean through the use of hypothesis testing. What comes to mind when you hear a “not guilty” decision? Do you think there is any chance the person could have actually been guilty? A “not guilty” verdict could mean different things. For example, it could mean the jury was absolutely sure the person didn’t commit the crime (still we can never be 100%) or they were pretty sure the person didn’t commit the crime and had a reasonable doubt.

        If a jury were to convict an innocent person, this would be a Type I Error. Alternatively, by not convicting a guilty person, this would be Type II Error. Hypothesis testing reminds me of a quote from Benjamin Franklin,

        “It is better to let 100 guilty men go free than to convict one innocent man.”

          So, what can we do to overcome bias? Let’s look at a couple techniques… but first, let me ask you a simple question.

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          Knowing that we can never be 100% confident, could Einstein have been wrong? The answer is a profound yes. In fact, scientists behind a theory that the speed of light is variable, and not constant as Einstein suggested, have made a prediction they plan to test. [3] So, if one of the smartest people in history could have been wrong, this should demonstrate that anyone can be wrong.

          Always try to prove yourself wrong.

          What would happen if we always tried to prove ourselves wrong? Typically, we accept the hypothesis. If we try to look for evidence, the natural course for us is to seek out evidence confirming the hypothesis. Yet, by doing this, we ignore the fact that the evidence could provide us a different explanation. [4]

          “We are trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we find progress.” – Richard Feynman

          Use the rule of 3.

          Another powerful technique is the Rule of 3. Here you identify three potential causes for each issue. A study published in the Journal of Accounting Research revealed that auditors who develop three hypotheses are actually more efficient at identifying misstatements through the use of analytical procedures. [5]

          Let’s take a look at how Andy Snyder recommends using the Rule of 3 tactic. [6]

          • Train yourself to understand that what you first believe is not necessarily right or wrong. It is likely somewhere in the middle.
          • Create 3 distinct hypotheses as you work to discover the truth. By tracking 3 distinct ideas, it forces us to go beyond right or wrong. It forces us to explore the gray areas.
          • Strive to update your beliefs and reward yourself when you do. Snyder says this is the hallmark of a finely tuned mind.

          I also have another unique way to attack this issue. Let’s take a look.

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          Blinded by Numbers + Bias = Hypothesis

          Your hypothesis becomes the outcome.

          Here’s my Hypothesis for bias (using deductive reasoning)

          • Premise #1: People are easily convinced by statistics.
          • Premise #2: Statistics are difficult to understand, so people fail to question them.
          • Premise #3: People fail to question the experts.

          Conclusion: Therefore, people blindly defer to the experts.

          So, what can you do? Follow my winning formula Solution – Hypothesis = New Outcome.

          My Solution for overcoming bias:

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            • Step #1: Become aware of your bias.
            • Step #2: Remember your purpose or objective. Numbers are only indicators, so let them only serve as such and not your conclusion.
            • Step #3: Use a technique to develop your hypothesis (i.e. Prove Yourself Wrong or the Rule of 3)
            • Step #4: Use Argument Maps.

              Lastly, let’s end by looking at a famous parable – The Blind Men and an Elephant. This is the story of a group of blind men and their first encounter with an elephant. They learn how to conceptualize the elephant by touching it. They each feel different parts of the elephant’s body (each man only feels one part). They then describe the elephant to each other based on their partial experience. They argue as each description is in complete disagreement with one another. [7]

              The moral of the story is the following: We all have a tendency to project our own experiences; however, we project them as the entire truth. We should strive to consider that we might be partially correct, yet we only have a small chunk of the whole. We must become aware of the bigger picture, not just our chunk of information.

              Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

              Reference

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              Dr. Jamie Schwandt

              Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

              5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory How Cognitive Learning Benefits Your Brain 10 Best Brain Power Supplements That Will Supercharge Your Mind How to Upgrade Your Critical Thinking Skills and Make Smart Choices How to Reprogram Your Brain Like a Computer And Hack Your Habits

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              Last Updated on January 24, 2020

              10 Good Habits To Have in Life To Be More Successful

              10 Good Habits To Have in Life To Be More Successful

              Habits are behaviors and patterns that you showcase by default. They enable you to carry out crucial activities like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, getting prepared for work.

              Interestingly, you follow this routine every day without considering them. Your unconscious habits create room for your brain to perform more advanced activities like problem-solving and choosing what book to read.

              Everyone has habits, and several of those habits are activated every day. I would classify them into three groups:

              • The first category includes the habits that you hardly notice as they have become a major part of your life- such as brushing teeth or wearing clothes.
              • The second category comprises good habits to have to be more successful-like eating healthily, exercising your body and reading books.
              • The last group consists of those habits that are harmful-like procrastinating, smoking or overeating.

              Habits are fundamental to becoming successful in life — or probably ending up a failure. Yet, as significant as habits are, some lack the knowledge of their capabilities.

              Habits are default activities that you engage in without giving an afterthought. They are automatic behavioral or mental activities. They help you carry out some actions without exerting too much energy. They simplify your life.

              Several people aspire to break bad habits. For instance, some people diet to stop overeating. They exercise to reduce obesity. Habits can hinder or impact your performance and productivity.

              That’s why I would share 10 good habits to have to be more successful in life.

              1. Begin Your Day with Meditation

              I recommend mindful meditation early in the morning. This practice helps you to be in the present moment. Consequently, it enables you to be mindful of challenging situations during the day.

              Different stressors may trigger as you go through the day; meditation helps you to remain calm before taking on the challenges.

              Personally, it helps me to devise strategies and think about ideas. Meditation is a good habit to have if you want to be connected to what’s significant in your life.

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              2. Be Grateful for What You Have

              Sometimes, you waste time thinking of what’s not enough. You become immersed in those daunting challenges. However, challenges justify the presence of hope. When you have life, you have expectations. You will be free from challenges when you are six feet under. The only strategy you have to stop focusing on your problems is to focus on what you have.

              Gratitude is a time-tested pathway to success, health, and happiness. It redirects your focus to what you have from what you lack. Here’s what James Clear does every day,[1]

              “I say one thing I’m grateful for each day when I sit down to eat dinner.”

              3. Smile

              Can you pause and smile before you continue reading this?

              Now here is what just happened based on research conducted by the Association for Psychological Science; you set a pace for living a happier life when you smile. A genuine smile or what’s called a Duchenne smile is a good habit to have if you want to find spiritual, emotional and mental peace of mind.[2]

              Smiling induces the release of molecules that function towards fighting stress. The physiological state of your body determines the state of your mind. When you slouch or frown, your mind takes cues relating to unhappiness and depression. But, once you adjust yourself by putting up a smile, you begin to feel a new level of excitement and vibrancy.

              Can you smile again?

              4. Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast

              Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is a good habit to have and forms a crucial part of your life. Nevertheless, about 31 million Americans skip their breakfast each day.[3]

              If you are fed up hearing that breakfast is a crucial component of your day, you are only fighting the truth. If you want to become more successful, you need to ‘break your fast’ with healthy foods every morning.

              This habit is not difficult to form if you usually rush out the door every single morning. You can wake up earlier to fix yourself a meal so you don’t break down during the day.

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              Get inspired by these 20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time.

              5. Exercise Daily

              One of the good habits to have is to exercise your body and muscles every day. You don’t have to run a marathon or lift a weight. You only need to engage in less strenuous activities that oxygenate your blood and inject endorphins in your body.

              Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, classified exercise as a good habit to maximize his already jam-packed schedule.[4] He said,

              ‘I wake up by 5, meditate for 30 minutes, seven-minute workout times three, make coffee, and check-in.’

              He said on Product Hunt that he follows this routine every day as it gives him a steady-state that empowers him to be more productive.

              6. Manage Your Time as You Manage Your Finance

              Another good habit is the act of managing your time effectively. This goes a long way to impact your achievement.

              Time management is what separates the successful from the rest of the world as we all possess the same amount of time. How you leverage time determines your potential to succeed in life.

              So how do you manage your time effectively?

              Here’s Jack Dorsey’s recommendation in one of the Techonomy events;

              “I accomplish effective time management by theming my days and practicing self-discipline. These themes help me handle distractions and interactions. If a request or task does not align with the theme for that day, I don’t do it. This sets a cadence for everyone in the company to deliver and evaluate their progress”.

              And this is Dorsey’s weekly theme:[5]

              • Monday – Management
              • Tuesdays – Product
              • Wednesday – Marketing and growth
              • Thursdays – Developers and partnerships
              • Fridays – Culture and recruiting
              • Saturdays – Taking off
              • Sundays – Reflection, feedback, strategy, and preparing for Monday

              No wonder he was able to run two companies when others were struggling with one job.

              7. Set Daily Goals with Intentions

              Everyone has goals. It may relate to business or personal life. The truth is, we’re all tending towards a particular direction or another. Nevertheless, while long-term goals can offer you direction, it’s your daily goals that you establish that help you develop short-term goals that are essential for your success.

              Long-term goals may not give you the motivation you need to keep on. But when you implement your short-term milestones daily, you become fired up, and you can overcome the challenges that come with taking on bigger tasks.

              Here’s the main truth:Successful people don’t set goals without establishing their intentions. According to Jennifer Cohen of Forbes,[6]

              “What helps you to achieve your desired expectation is ensuring intentions accompany your daily goals.”

              Be intentional about your daily goals!

              8. Seek Inspiration

              It is usually difficult to be inspired for a considerable length of time. Sometimes, you become discouraged and feel like giving up on your goals when things are not working out as intended.

              A practical approach to stay on top of the situation is to inspire yourself each day. When you wake up in the morning after meditation, watch some motivational videos, and let the story of great leaders inspire you.

              Establish what Anthony Robbins called the ‘hour of power.’ Determine how many minutes you spend but make it count. Inspiration is the fuel for achievement because when you can conceive it in your mind, you can accomplish it.

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              Michal Solowow, an investor and the founder of Mitex, a construction company puts it this way,[7]

              “The problems I encounter in everyday life motivates me to find solutions. This is a self-propelling mechanism. becoming a billionaire was never a motivating factor.”

              9. Save Steadily, Invest with All Prudence

              I can exhaust the good habits to have without talking about saving and investing. Most times, you overlook the significance of saving for the future when you are living in your present moment. According to CNBC, a $1000 emergency will propel several Americans into debt.[8]

              However, it is not enough to save, and you must invest your fund and be wise with it. If you pay attention to this now, you will set yourself for a life of success in the future. Ensure you save at least six months in your emergency account so you can be prepared for any future emergency.

              10. Budget and Track Your Spendings

              Benjamin Franklin warned of taking the precaution of little expenses. He said,

              “A small leak sinks a great ship.”

              It is easy to discard little expenses, but the truth is they always add up. This happens when you fail to budget.

              Budgeting is a good habit to have, which can impact your financial life significantly. The money you spend on extravagant lifestyles can be saved and invested in your future.

              The Bottom Line

              Endeavor to cultivate these good habits to have to become more successful as you journey through life. The quicker you cultivate them, the faster you achieve your goals.

              More About Habits

              Featured photo credit: Andrijana Bozic via unsplash.com

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