Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lucky 13 & New Year's Probability

13 days into 2013 how are your New Years Resolutions coming?

Instead of just hoping your way to success-- put a number on it. Estimate the probability that you will be successful in your new year's resolution and this may increase the likelihood you'll be successful.
Developing the skill of thinking probabilistically taps into the power of observation. What you observe affects the outcomes. The observer effect states that the act of observing a system inevitably alters its state-- and possibly make life more amendable to your resolutions. Furthermore, with an timely application of Bayesian Methodology, which describes a world in which our perception moves more and more towards reality, attaining greater and greater accuracy- our hypothesis that if we change X,Y, and Z then our new year's resolution will in fact prevail. However, if you don't measure, observe, and predict there is a strong likelihood for more of the same.

New year's resolutions symbolize our hopes and dreams for positive change in our life. Relish in following through on the promise that this time you will accomplish a simple goal in your life. My new year desire is to learn spanish. Now how can I be successful this time when every other time before I failed. Clearly willpower is not working. Most adherents to the doctrine of willpower would blame me, the actor, for not working hard enough. What I suggest is that there is something in the context or situation that can commands an overwhelming force, no matter how hard I assert willpower, every time I come up short.

If I just think positive you might say. Behaviorists blame behavior, Thinkers blame thoughts, beliefs, attitudes. But numbers can't lie. So to increase our chances of success - estimate the percentage chance that you think you will be successful.

Get to the root cause: the more you use willpower the more you get trapped by the law of diminishing returns. You need to leverage a force more powerful. So go out on a limb and estimate, observe, estimate, observe and the more your goals will close in on the actuals.

When things get busy and your schedule fills up the margin for error decreases. This means things get tight, time and space shrink and our priorities succumb to daily pressures, things like your exercise routine or eating healthy get squeezed out for sake of expediency.

Put aside for a moment the notion that you may not want to be successful and deal with all that comes with that new job, new boyfriend, new new. Change sucks.

Focus on accuracy. With practice your predictions obtain clearer assessments of reality, moving more and more from fiction to fact, delusion and false hope to the way things actually are.

Acceptance and the world as it is.  
Now through this process you attain several important things: a more accurate perception of the world, clearer resolutions, estimates of your chance of success, and greater wisdom and insight into the personal and environmental factors that act as barriers to improving your success rate. Be successful or have a higher success rate? The first is an overly simplistic assumption based on fantasy perception of the world. And assumes we can just plop down in perfection. The second is a process promoting greater and greater progress.

The more we practice thinking probabilistically and dealing with the reality of uncertainty in the world the more chance this time we will be successful in our predictions and find closer approximations of our limitations and the barriers inherent in our everyday world.

So don't make a resolution unless you intend on keeping your predictions.

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