Coin Flip – Developing a Bias for Heads

coin-flip-developing-childrens-cognitive-biasAs a coin flips in the air, over and over, you already know what you want the result to be. Both sides of the coin produce different outcomes and even though you have let the fate of the coin make the decision, you have a desired outcome. The desired outcome for your opponent is the opposite.

Heads, you win; tails, you lose.

Just like a coin, there are two sides to every story. And just like every coin flip, the opponents want different outcomes to the story.

Scott Adams has written in some detail about a person’s cognitive bias on his Dilbert blog. Many people will create their own perception of reality based on the information they are given that speaks the loudest to them. This information usually backs up a previously held belief or in the case of a coin flip, a desired outcome.

The coin has to be heads this time, because last time I tossed a coin it was tails.

fire-inside-develop-biasNot so long ago, my thought process was that Donald Trump could do or say no wrong. As for today, it doesn’t matter to me because I have been able to let it go. However, based on my own cognitive bias or partiality to Mr. Trump, he was always in the right. I let my desire for him to win cloud my perception of reality.

There are millions of people who view Mr. Trump the same way. There are also millions of people who view Mr. Trump the exact opposite. The other side of the coin.

The Inputs to the Story increase Cognitive Bias

The presence of external factors will affect your own cognitive bias. Always keep in mind that your own thoughts are a product of someone else’s coin flip or someone else’s bias. Watch the bias long enough and you begin to develop similar thought processes.

Naval Ravikant (@naval) posted the following on Twitter

You know that song you can’t get out of your head? All thoughts work that way. Careful what you read

Everything you read, hear, see, touch or taste is going to affect your perception of reality in the future. Whether it is minutely or significantly, everything you do changes your outlook.

Your cognitive bias is built upon your upbringing and your experience. From what you were taught as a child to that newspaper headline you saw at the local grocers.

Dads, you are the influence that will change your children’s world

children-sponge-knowledge-biasAs children grow through the years the major influence on them is their parents. They don’t watch the news or read the paper, what they know is what you teach them.

Flip a coin, what type of dad do you want to be.

Heads, you are there for your children, involved, active; you exercise and maintain healthy habits. You want to achieve the most out of your life and strive for the best.

Tails, you have children but you aren’t involved; the video games and couch look better than the stack of books balancing your television stand.

Your children’s desire for the outcome of future coin flips will be based on the bias you instill in them now.

They are sponges, soaking up every last piece of information they are given. They want to learn everything. Your role must be to teach them.

The vehicle you drive, why is it called a vehicle? Who named it that? Why did they name it that? You had no idea what the identification of it was until someone taught you. Someone taught you that the big metal device with four wheels and glass windows was called a vehicle.

This is a kids thought processes with everything. As they learn, they will begin to identify. The teachings you have given them will be their cognitive bias in the future.

Developing a Positive Cognitive Bias

school-attendance-biasLife is always about decisions, there is always a coin flip. We must be wary of the way we speak of the outcomes we desire.

I once had the habit of saying to my Daughter when she was younger, “I don’t want to go to work today, I would rather stay home to play.” Sounds positive right? Telling your Daughter that there is nowhere else you would rather be than at home with her. Let’s dig a little deeper.

In the example above your thought process is that you want to stay home with your child. Your child’s thought process is play is more important than work.

In my Daughter’s Senior Kindergarten class, I was working a highly stressful job. She was up every morning to make sure she said goodbye before I left. I kept telling her that I didn’t want to go that I wanted to say home with her. Guess what happened? Every day was a battle to get her to school. She cried, screamed, hid; just to get out of going to school.

My bias was built on the information my Dad was teaching me about his job. Every single day he told me that he hated his job, that he didn’t want to go to work, and that he wanted to quit. He never had time for anything. I was beginning to instill the same bias in my Daughter.

Until, I changed the information that was programming her bias. I began to realize the mistake I was making and took steps to correct. The ability to change a child’s bias is much easier than an adults. I no longer say I don’t want to go to work, I now say “First we work, then we play.” Within weeks, we no longer had any issues getting her to go to school.

We preach “work before play” on everything now and it has made a tremendous difference. And we practice what we preach. This bias that we are instilling will carry with her forever.

Be the person you want your children to be

Your dream as a Dad should be healthy and successful children, teenagers, young adults, and adults. Their decision making in the future is a direct product of the information they are soaking up today.

Lead your family, develop the habits that you would want to see in the future. We all have our influences, we have all had tragedy, and we have all had life-altering moments; learn from them. Don’t let those experiences totally cloud your judgement or your perceptions of reality.

In life, there are always only two outcomes, heads or tails. Which side do you desire?

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