My dear one always complained that I am not so fond of surprises. Deep inside, I do appreciate an element of surprise in my life. But sometimes life brings along difficult surprises to you, and they are so surprising that you start doubting the law of gravity. Anyway, $#i+ happens! But one needs to learn to deal with such hostile situations in life. This talk is not authoritative enough due to the uniqueness of each situation, but discusses the human nature that decides how we deal with them.
Like most artificial intelligence engines do, the human mind also runs on a learning model. This model is prepared and maintained by the brain by storing information about situations in the past along with environmental factors around them, the decisions taken then, and the outcome of the situation. And it is this model that the mind tries to exploit when dealing with new situations. Don’t we always try to relate to the past? We somehow try to force-fit the current situation to something in the past and then apply the known outcome to the situation. But this model needs to be used with caution. Worse enough, we also involve statistics based on other people’s experience of similar situations and impose it on ours. The urban dictionary calls it ‘superstistics’, the use of prior evidence of one event to predict the outcome of another unrelated event – from the words superstitious and statistics.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.
– Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)
No matter how close we believe two situations are, there is one parameter that will always differentiate 2 situations: the perpetual & unidirectional nature of time. And time is a crucial variable in the equation of life. And to add to this, there is the element of uncertainty in human behaviour. No matter how confident you are about some one’s nature or behaviour, they will always hold the ability to surprise you.
Situations mostly revolve around people and it is very important to identify who’s who. Ever since I read the Chicken and the Pig story, my categorization is Boolean: ham or not? The hams are people who are committed to solving the situation (with some selfish interest), everyone else is a chicken (apt name for such people). Chickens are either not committed (more like fence-watchers), or are selfish, dishonest and biased. Beware of chickens!
So how do we deal with such situations? I will be sharing a 7 guiding points in my next post. Although I am no authority on the subject, I will share what I have learned from my life, mostly in the near past.