Last Friday I got a message from the Universe. Sunday I got another.
Let me back up.
When I first started PersuasionReadingList.com, an early post was about the confirmation bias I had experienced at the time. Numerous, unrelated sources had all suggested that I Offer Water to people.
Coming from multiple sources, it was as if the Universe was talking to me, making sure I didn’t miss the message. I still offer water, the source of life.
And now, the Universe is Back.
In reality, I am likely experiencing Confirmation Bias. My mind has an idea that appears supported by other random happenings, without seeing the full picture of human existence.
The human mind is easily fooled by randomness. We see patterns where none exist. I’m no exception — this is a perfect example!
Daniel Kahneman wrote in “Thinking, Fast and Slow:”
“Random processes produce many sequences that convince people that the process is not random after all.”
An example would be coin tosses. A normal coin has a 50% chance of landing Heads, 50% chance of Tails. If you flipped a coin three times and it landed Heads, Heads, Heads, what are the chances the fourth toss is Heads as well?
We see the pattern which might influence our guess. But a fair coin is still 50/50 for either side.
The Law of Small Numbers (few events) is that they act nothing like Large Numbers (many events). We love to believe in patterns within our limited experiences, when there may not really be patterns in these overall happenings of life.
Regardless, when this happens to me, I take notice. As I mentioned, this week it happened again. Twice…
I have been mulling over a new digital camera for the last few weeks. I couldn’t decide if I wanted a different brand camera, or if I should just get a smaller lens for my existing, older Nikon D5100.
On Friday the Universe, via Twitter, brought an article about Distinction Bias to my attention.
Distinction Bias suggested that I was “making mountains out of mole hills.” I was wasting time comparing the most minute details of new cameras which probably had no effect in the long run. The new camera options, and the older camera I already own, all did pretty much the same thing. The camera shop clerk even told me this same thing during a recent visit.
Sunday night, I got a second message from the Universe.
There I was, minding my own business, ignoring that Distinction Bias and researching camera lens options.
A favorite camera site featured a YouTube Video on art and photography, which soon led to more videos by Vinny Le Pes. I watched half a dozen of his videos.
That’s when the Universe’s second message arrived.
This second Universe Message was not related to Cameras, but came from Vinny’s video “I’m a Failure,” released in 2017. In the video Vinny says,
“Instead of asking ‘what is broken and how can we fix it?’ we should be asking, ‘what is working and how can we do more of it?'”
Whoa, the Universe was talking again! This was the third time I had heard that concept in the last week.
The first time I heard the message, it was worded:
“Don’t try to fix what’s failing. Do less of what’s failing. Do more of what’s working.”
The second time, I was reading the excellent Farnam Street Blog on the concept of ‘Inversion.’ Inversion means thinking about a problem backwards, starting from the solution. In his post from 2013, Shame Parish wrote,
“Spend less time trying to be brilliant and more time trying to avoid obvious stupidity.”
Simple enough to do… maybe. Habits can be hard to break!
So there we go. I had two messages from the Universe last weekend:
- Don’t waste time (or other resources) comparing minute details that probably don’t matter, and
- Don’t waste time rerunning the scripts and habits that lead to unwanted outcomes. Avoid stupidity. Instead, do more of what works.
History is not real; it lives only in our heads. Habits can be changed. I’m excited to see how I can apply this towards better outcomes.
I’ve started two ways to avoid stupidity already. I figure, if I want to celebrate my photography, I need to share it. I’ve started posting on Instagram.com.
And at the suggestion of a longtime reader Philippe (hi mate!), I should to give my readers a way to help support me. So I’ve started on Patreon.com, where you can support my writing for as little as $1 per month.
How about you?
Do you have examples of the Universe presenting ideas over and over? (confirmation bias)
Do you find yourself wasting time on minute details of a decision? (distinction bias)
Are you stuck in the same habits and routines that are no longer serving your own good? (habits, and not inverting a problem)