Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Personal Realization

You know, most people suffer from a cognitive bias of illusory superiority. I suffer from it's opposite. I figure I'm pretty smart, but that doesn't make me able to do analysis and make decisions better than other people in and of itself. Because that's one of the smart things I know.
So I presume most people to be smart.
And then when they do dumb things my logic flow goes like this:
1. They can clearly see the eminent and obvious facts just as I can
2. Therefore they are up to something vastly more nefarious instead.

I suspect I should just assume people are dumb and not evil. That would sure make me feel better at least. Someone does something dumb (or worse yet) a group of people do something dumb and it's probably just because they're dumb. Not because they're trying to pull a fast one.

But my experience tells me that "being dumb" and trying to pull a fast one are (or can be) hand-in-hand. That may be mostly the embarrassment of being caught being dumb -- it makes people cover stuff up so you can't see how dumb they were and that (certainly seems) evil.

Here's my dad running the numbers on his own lemonade stand.
I should probably be less harsh with people who can't read a cash flow or P&L statement. I literally grew up on those. On the train home this evening I remembered that, no kidding, my dad had me write out my expenses and projected sales for a lemonade stand I had out on Clive Street one summer. I ran the numbers and my profit projected was rather low. But I knew that essentially I was going to get a "subsidy" in the form of sugar and lemonade mix from the government my mother, so my business was (for an 8-year-old) fairly viable (if seasonable). 

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