We’re bad at thinking statistically.
As Daniel Kahneman said, our brains are like machines for jumping to conclusions. We hate uncertainty and ignore the role of luck. We see patterns and stories where they don’t exist. And we’re often blind to data that challenges our pre-existing beliefs.
Yet, thinking statistically is a skill we need in almost everything we do. In any decision we deliberate over, we’re weighing up some sort of data. Whether that’s evaluating the claims we’re bombarded with in the media everyday. Picking our careers. Or finding new strategies to address the world’s most pressing challenges.
As a professional poker player for a decade, I spent a lot of time thinking about how my brain works and how I can get the best out of it.
At the poker tables, I had all sorts of impulses to do self-destructive things, which I had to learn to resist (often to no avail)… Taking unnecessary risks to avoid booking a loss. Going on tilt. Playing 4 games at once but still having the constant urge to check Skype messages on the side… The list could go on and on.
Away from the tables, I had to motivate myself…
Ex-poker pro, now trying to make work better.