The list of problems that don't have their roots in a fundamental misunderstanding of how things actually are is a short one. The other night I was playing poker, and one of the guys at the table was a really bad player who thought that he was really good. He and I played a hand where I surprised him and ended up winning. He was furious, threw his cards at me, and mumbled for hours about what a bad player I was.
I've certainly played hands poorly before and gotten lucky and won anyway, but this wasn't one of those times. I knew what he had, I knew what I had, I knew how much money was in the pot, I knew what my odds of catching the cards I needed to win were, and I could do the math to figure out that it was worthwhile for me to keep puting money in. All he knew was that he had better odds than me going into the last card, and I won anyway.
The guy proceeded to lose a thousand bucks or so, and I bet that this is a regular occurrence with him. I also bet he has no idea why he's lost thousands of dollars at poker. He probably just thinks that it's bad luck.
A few years ago I had an issue with reality as well. I thought: hey, I'm smart, smart people make lots of money, but I haven't made lots of money. The easy solution to that sort of disconnect is to ignore it or blame it on bad luck, but a better strategy is to examine each piece and figure out which one isn't true.
I'm not the smartest person in the world, but I know that I am reasonably smart. I also knew with certainty that I hadn't made tons of money. I thought that you had to be smart to make lots of money, but upon further consideration I realized that being smart helps, but the critical element of success is hard work. That left me to face the truth that certain levels of success required very hard work, and that I wasn't coming close to meeting that standard.
When you face the truth like that, you have no choice but to change. I became a hard worker and decided that if I ever failed at one of my goals, it wouldn't be for lack of effort.
Looking back at other big changes in my life, I realize that they're always accompanied by pushing past my own nonsense and trying to find the actual truth, whether I'll like it or not. I realized that I would never be satisfied with any life path that required a degree, so I dropped out of school. When faced with the fact that I might be a nice guy, but that I was terrible with girls, I learned pickup. Even moving into my RV was due to the realization that efficiency and mobility were more important to me than space or status.
The hardest part of facing the truth is being willing to do so. We all come up with stories to pacify our egos, and confronting the truth often requires destroying those stories. The actual process is very easy-- you identify an area where you aren't totally satisfied, and you work backwards to figure out why not. Create a chain of assumptions, set aside the ones that you absolutely know are true, and then argue against the other ones. Sooner or later, one of them will break, and you'll know what needs to change.
Photo is a taxidermied deer covered in glass bubbles. You can't make things like that up.
Humans have no trouble answering questions based on paltry evidence because we don't care about what is logically valid and theoretically possible, we care about what is probable. But how do we determine probability? Based on our prior experience of the world, which is where we draw our experience from. This is called inductive reasoning.
The whole point of inductive reasoning is to draw sweeping assumptions based on limited evidence (for example, "smart people are rich," which is scientifically clearly not the case and is in itself a sweeping assumption, or rich people are rich because they work very, very hard). Since time immemorial people have made stuff up because they felt they needed explanations and simplifications to the incredible complexity of the world that we live in. Humans especially tend to make stuff up to explain randomness, because we are naturally wired to see patterns in everything, and we have reluctance to accept that the world has a lot of randomness in it. For example, we cannot get our head around the fact that some people are extremely poor and others extremely rich simply due to dumb luck (a simple example would be whether you are born from very poor or very rich parents).
One thing that I believe higher education is good at, is that it actually forces you to think scientifically. Basically you realize that you have bias and that making sweeping assumptions without any concrete, empirical evidence will not get you very far. What you or I "think" does not matter. We can think all sorts of things based on our experience of the world, which always makes total sense to us. That's because we don't gather the maximum possible evidence to reach a conclusion; we reach the maximum possible conclusion on the barest minimum of evidence. And once we have our opinion, all sorts of psychological factors will ensure that we won't be looking for anyone or anything invalidating our unfounded beliefs. One of those factors is called confirmation bias. Another thing that higher education is good at is showing you that you aren't as smart as you think.
Anyway, good post Tynan. However be wary of your biases and of what you consider as "truth."
Very good reasoning, we learn from our mistakes but we must be prepared to find answers.
How long must we do this is a measureless question but on hindsight until it starts to produce results.
The way there is defined by a common phrase, " wiser after he event". Angles to research come after something has happened but it is good technique to see if you can find an angle before the event.
@Lingholic..Something I realized is that (like many humans) as I've aged I've become more cautious in my decisions. But "emergency" situations jerk you out of that and allow for normal decision making and the burning away of non-essentials. I had a little of that happen over the last few days (check the news about Boulder County in Colorado) and both "lived" a little more fully and slept a lot better than for months.Time to investigate this thought trail a little more and start "doing" a little more. All of which is wrapped up in being honest with oneself.
This is huge. We've got a bunch of psychological tricks to try to avoid coming face-to-face with reality, but reality is the best teacher. Ray Dalio's Principles (the first 40 pages especially) does a great job of discussing thing. For a tl;dr, check out my blog post on the topic.
As usual great post. So important to see reality clearly and right on with hard work being the way to become successful. I realized the same thing a few years back and have been working hard every day for about 3 years now. I am seeing 5000% the results I was seeing the last 10 years prior.
It is so easy to make excuses for ourselves, but we lose all power when we do.
This is startlingly obvious. Except when you're not doing it. After reading your posting I had a busy day that included an epiphany about myself that I've been avoiding.Thanks. I suppose.. :)
Another great post Tynan. I think anyone can relate in some way or another. A lot of the time It's as simple as putting your ego on the line (simple in idea, difficult in practice), introspecting and having the courage and honesty to admit that you aren't as good as you think you are in a particular area. And being honest means looking objectively, where only hard, real would evidence counts, and comparing that against your reality (ego). It sounds daunting and unencouraging, but once you strip away the fat until you know exactly where your problem lies - it's a relief, like releasing a burden. It gives me clarity/motivation/direction on what I need to do next.
High IQ tends to achieve decently high income, but usually never too high. The ones that do also have incredible social IQ.
Wealth is best generated by doing business and that means managing other people. You don't have to have a high IQ to do this, and it's better you have only a slightly higher IQ than the people you manage so you can relate to them.
Of course, hard work is by far the biggest ingredient if the goal is wealth.
And then again, it most importantly depends on your purpose in life. I know wealth as a goal is not interesting enough for me as I've experienced it a couple of times. I am finding artistic expression/spiritual growth is much more interesting and that "hard work" may be necessary at times, but is not key like it is for wealth.
My 2 cents.
Here's a habit I have which I hate, that you might be able to relate to. A friend might say that he thinks that a Zodiac boat goes really slow. I then reply that I'm not sure, but I think they're quite fast. As we go back and forth, I become more and more convinced that I'm right. My unstated goal has nothing to do with discovering the truth, but it has everything to do with convincing my friend that I'm right.
Often times he's in the same position, not totally sure how correct his position is, but determined to get me to believe him. If there's a more useless way to spend time than these sorts of arguments, I haven't discovered it yet.
It's not difficult to figure out why we do this. We all want to seem smart, and a good way to seem smart is to be right all the time. Including this time, dammit. And like any habit that's fueled by the ego, this habit is a good one to put on the chopping block for execution.
I remember how it was when I was moving out from father house. I was shaking, I've felt something deep in heart I didn't knew exactly what it was. Was I excited or was it because huge changes are just in front of me. I knew just one thing I was willing to don't eat anything if I wouldn't have any money but still chase my poker dreams to become of poker pro. Back than I was listening Lose Yourself daily. It reminded me about my my shot, every single day.
I was so fucking determinate, I was so fucking dedicated that I did it. Even thought I had many flaws, even though my mindset was far from perfect. Even thought I was throwing chairs, did a hole in a wall and did many crazy shit on tilt. It's all is past, I remember it like through fog, how much keyboards I crushed, how much shakers, timers and so on, and so forth. It was an issue, the big issue was when I've realized I am not that dedicated anymore.
I had very decent life, I was truly happy, I was doing what I love, I was having good relationships, sex wasn't an issue, even thought I've lose virginity pretty damn late. All was going for better, but what about my dreams? I'd rather call it goals, about dreams we say like, "One day I wish I'd do it" about goals we say like "I am gonna do it, whether you fucking like it or not". Goals still was big, but what changed?
It's just more and more people were saying that you've changed a lot. You shouldn't work that much, you shouldn't do xyz. You've did it man. Do they want bad for you? Hell no! They really want to help you, your friends, your girlfriends, your parents. It's just makes you slow down and lose some of this fire but it's within. Of course as long as you are aware of it. I've realized it not that far ago.