Category Archives: Cause Effect

Magic Cats

Magic Cats

I saw an article in the news the other day about Diet Coke.

Somebody in Europe did a study and they found a “link” between people who drank diet coke (or other drinks sweetened with fake sugar) and those who had heart attacks.

The way it was presented though, made it sound like if you took a sip of diet coke you were immediately going to drop dead from a heart attack.

The thing about us humans is that there is usually TONS of variables going on at once.

And from a scientific standpoint, PROVING that A causes B is very, very difficult.

In fact, it’s nearly impossible.

So why are we so likely to believe one thing CAUSES something else when they are merely “linked”?

Some evolutionary psychologists believe it was a shortcut in thinking. Like most of our “triggers,” seeing all sorts of “cause-effect” relationships where none exist simply made it easier on the brain.

Now, this type of thinking didn’t do much damage back in the days when life was simple.

But now there is SO MUCH data flying every which way you can “link” some pretty interesting things.

Like certain marketing studies have found that “cat people” tend to like a certain brand of salsa.

Why?

Who knows.

But it certainly doesn’t mean if you EAT that particular salsa a bunch of cats would magically appear.

That would be just silly.

But strangely enough, a lot of us live our lives according to such silly notions.

That girl didn’t smile back at me MEANS that I suck.

The teacher didn’t call on me when I raised my hand MEANS I’m an idiot.

My first attempt didn’t make any money MEANS I’m destined to be homeless.

The truth is that reality is much, much more open to interpretation then we believe.

Which means (lol) that if you only take action consistently, and are open to all the feedback you get, you’ll get a lot more than most people.

Who are PARALYZED by the fear that all of those imaginary “cause-effect” relationships create in their brains.

She didn’t laugh at your joke doesn’t MEAN that she doesn’t like you. It could mean that she’s nervous. It could mean that she didn’t get it. It could mean that she didn’t hear you. It could mean a lot of things.

Unfortunately, one aspect of our brains is that we often and AUTOMATICALLY choose the WORST possible meaning.

Why?

Because those that did so in our ancient history were the most likely to survive.

Luckily, most things you are “afraid” of aren’t going to kill you.

Not even close.

So long as you LEAVE the meaning to anything open to interpretation, and RE-interpretation later, it can mean anything.

Which means you can do anything, get anything, be anything.

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Fearless

How To Ditch Your Monkey Brain

Monkey Brains

Because

​One of the most powerful words in persuasion is “because.”

They did this study once. They had a young woman try to cut in line in a copy machine. She first asked if she could cut in line. A large percentage of the time, people said “no.”

Then she tried to cut in line and gave a reason. She said “I need to cut in line because my car is in a tow away zone and I don’t have much time.” And guess what? Most people let her cut in line.

Then they tried something really good. She said, “I need to cut in line because I have some copies to make.”

And guess what? They still let her cut in line most of the time.

Because she used the magic word “because.”

It seems our brains are hard wired to see cause-effect relationships. And when something is presented to us in a cause-effect relationship, it’s VERY hard to disagree with.

They think it’s because long ago Mother Nature decided it was a lot quicker making these connections (cause-effect), even if they were sometimes incorrect, than have to figure things out every single time.

This also translates into “meaning.” If A causes B, then A also MEANS B in our monkey brains.

A tiger MEANS we’re about to get eaten.

Now, if you actually did a study where you wandered around the jungle, chances are that every time you saw a tiger, you wouldn’t get eaten.

But if you DON’T assume danger EVERY SINGLE TIME, all you need to do is get eaten once to NOT pass on those “figure it out every time” genes.

Consequently, we generally see two things happening together, and ASSUME it’s some kind of iron-clad, unbreakable law of the universe.

Like maybe once you applied for a bunch of jobs, and didn’t get hired. So you came to the conclusion that “getting a job is difficult.”

Or maybe you tried to talk to a pretty girl and she laughed, so you came to the conclusion that “every single pretty girl in the world will laugh at me.”

Or maybe when you were a kid watching cartoons you could hear your parents in the background arguing about money. So you came up with the idea that “money causes problems.”

Of course, NONE of these are true. Many people believe talking to pretty girls is fun and natural. Many people believe making money is easy and exciting. Many people believe that getting any job is as easy as ordering a pizza.

What do YOU want to believe?

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