John Farnam's Quips - 11May03.html
11 May 03
"Hunches," "Feelings," "Lucky Charms," "Intuition," "ESP"? It's all crap!
Both our lives and our craft are ruthlessly fact-oriented. Indeed, so ruthless and unfair does life often seem, that many of us unwisely surrender to beliefs in ESP and the like, in an effort to cushion the impact of stark reality. When we do, we are immersed in an ocean of self-deception and ultimately do ourselves no good service! In simplest terms, sincere belief in ESP is a form of mental illness.
Casino games are literal manifestations of statical probability. However, gamblers love to talk about "lucky cards," "lucky dice," "winning streaks," "losing streaks," and the like. The casino business is profitable just because customers play "hunches," while the casino plays the odds! The fact is, low-probability events do occur. When they do, someone will always claim to have "seen it coming." Curiously, that claim always comes right after the event!
If you really believe "streaks" have any predictive value, look at the roulette wheel. Most casinos post the last ten results on an electronic bulletin board that is conspicuously situated above the wheel. Naive players are forever looking for "patterns" on the display. Unhappily, the only "pattern" you'll ever see is a classic bell curve! Indeed, casinos often keep records for months even years, just to make sure the wheel is "regular." They track millions, indeed billions, of spins. Their data shows exactly what any intelligent and rational person would expect: if red has come up eight times in a row, the ninth spin will come up red exactly as often as after any other sequence. At the craps table, I've seen the dice come up seven, five times in a row. The chances that the sixth throw will be a seven is still one in six. There is no voodoo operating here, just statical probability in its purest form. If a seven is thrown when you have money on a number, you lose. You lose, no matter how "unfair" it seems, no matter what your "feelings" were, no matter how fervently you pray!
The laws of randomness, like to law of gravity, apply to everyone equally. We all need to stop "feeling" and start thinking. Your can "feel" any way you want. It will change nothing. "Feeling" is for losers! You can't predict the cards you're going to be delt. Stop imagining that you can. Start concentrating on the one thing you can control: the way you play them. Victory dwells in the heart of the warrior, not in circumstances.
This makes me think of several things:
#1 Do not fall into the trap of "I'll only train for X because X is what I feel is likely to happen to me..."
Evaluate your threat level based on facts, not feelings.
Deliberate and respond in a fact driven, rational manner.
#2 Just because you have evaluated your situation and determined Y to be outside your threat profile, still have a plan for dealing with it. Random stuff happens. Be prepared.
I notice many people have a mindset that questions the need to be skilled with a handgun to be able to reach out and crush someone at obscene distance, then bring into it all sorts of arguments about why taking such a shot would land you in jail...
Yet, terrorism and mass shooting happen. In those instances, impossible to pin down when the next will happen, you don't get a choice of situation, so you can only have your skill...and your tools.
Deal with the problem or it will deal with you.