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In every choice we forgo, there are potential opportunity costs. This means that each alternative future has its risks and benefits, and it is only irrationality that keeps us from acting in our best interests.
Choosing an alternative future is a bet against all other possible future versions of ourselves.
The wager: NPV
The risk: NFV
We bet based on what we beleive the world is, but also what we beleive it *could be*. The more accurate our belief, the more accurate our decision. Belief can only become more accurate by being more rational, objective, and compassionate towards ourselves.
How we think we forms beliefs:
"Ready, Aim, Shoot.
How we actually form beliefs:
"Ready, Shoot, Aim."
Beliefs are formed based on efficiency (read: laziness or survival) and not accuracy (read: deliberation or skepticism).
Then: It was better to be safe than sorry.
Now: If you are safe, it is better to take time and lessen why you'll be sorry.
Truthseeking, the desire to know regardless of whether what we learn aligns with our current beliefs, is not naturally supported by how we process information.
We all view the same things, but we all see them differently. That difference is based on prior belief and the congruence of what we view to our own values.
Motivated Reasoning: A information processing pattern where prior beliefs include what strengthen them and exclude what challenge them, then the pattern repeats.
Information: Facts regardless of belief.
Disinformation: Lies regardless of Facts.
"Fake News": Facts and Lies, both embellished to spin a particular narrative, which won't be challenged by those whose beliefs are consistent with the story.
Fake News isn't meant to change minds, it's meant to entrench belief. Most social media does our motivated reasoning for us by default.
Like our choices, we want to be 100% right and don't want to make a massive shift to 100% wrong. So we tend to ignore or discredit the new info. Because being wrong feels bad, we choose to ignore instead.
Being smart doesn't make it better, bc you are naturally better at forming your own self-serving narrative. Intelligence and willpower alone can't combat motivated reasoning.
How do we change this?
Add a step to
"Ready, Shoot, Aim"
After justifying your belief *after* taking a position (Aim), say to yourself "wanna bet?"
This will force you to inventory *why* you believe something and how you reached that conclusion.
"Wanna bet" injects a degree of uncertainty and places us in a state of perpetual learning. Our decisions are improved because instead of deciding whether we are confident of not, we are asking *how* confident we are.
For any decision, rate your confidence in two ways:
- your level of confidence from 1 to 10 (false to accurate)
- the plausible alternatives to your decision (the lower # of alts, the more quality info you have)
Notice that by doing this you are inserting uncertainty into your decision making process, instead of waiting for it to manifest *after* your decision and then being disappointed.
Calibrate away from comfort of present (abundant) certainty and towards the comfort of future (diminished) uncertainty.
This allows a few things:
- our personal narrative no longer hinges on being right or wrong, we preserve self-worth & are more self-aware
- we see opposing info as a benefit, not a threat. We remain humble & hungry, not rabid and starved
- we are more credible communicators
- being less certain means more vulnerable, but more credible as well, allowing people to trust us more.
- this invites collaboration, not challenge.
- More knowledge is shared and more is gained for all involved.
- our uncertainty allows our beliefs to be less infectious and more educational.
- by institutionalizing the expression of uncertainty, we advance knowledge instead of stagnantly affirming what we believe
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