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Monday, December 12, 2016

How to let go of bad ideas

Mike Cernovich explains why it's important, as well as how to do it:
Don’t take being wrong personally.

If your ideas are not yours, why care if those ideas are attacked? You are you. The ideas you choose to hold dear are how you live your life. Better ideas means a better life. Bad ideas are like a spare tire around your waist. Do you take it personally when you lose fat? You have lost part of yourself, haven’t you? Yet you rejoice. Adopt the same mindset when losing bad ideas.

Remind yourself that bad ideas ruin lives.

I saw too many friends go into bankruptcy after the housing bubble burst. I avoided that fate because I never purchased a home, though other bad ideas have cost me dearly.

Ask how much money you would bet on your ideas.

If your ideas are true and good, surely you’ll wager on them?

Do you know how many people cowered away from election bets? Everyone knew who would win the election, and few would put their money where their mouths were.

If you wouldn’t bet on an idea you hold on the world, then do you believe the idea to be true?

Embrace uncertainty as an opportunity for growth.

What is the element of every horror film? Suspense. Uncertainty. We cling onto certain beliefs, even when those beliefs are wrong, because in a state of nature surprise usually meant some form of attack from wolverines, tsunamis, and blizzards.

Hold true to ideas about gravity, as they will keep you alive. Remain fluid on ideas about the nature of the human condition, as other people have lives of their owns and those lives are influenced by an ever-changing zeitgeist.

Recognizing you are wrong today gives you an opportunity to be right tomorrow.
The first one is the most important. You are not the sum of your ideas. You can't own an idea either. We are all wrong on a regular basis. Bad ideas are, by definition false, and anyone who values the truth should not hesitate to reject them.

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42 Comments:

Blogger Kristophr December 12, 2016 3:33 PM  

Any sane person immediately rejects false-to-fact data. Period.

Blogger Ingot9455 December 12, 2016 3:40 PM  

A story I heard about Ted Turner: He came to every meeting with ten new bad ideas. Horrible ideas. Stupid on the face of them. The beginning of every meeting would get them shot down and crushed by the other people in the meeting, working for him. He let them go without incident - they were his ideas but he wasn't tied to them.

But every so often, there was an eleventh idea and that made him all the money.

Anonymous Stryker4570 December 12, 2016 3:43 PM  

Read an article years ago by a Cosmologist. He was working on an equation to estimate the number of advanced civilizations we might find in the galaxy. One of the variables he figured in was the likelihood of bad ideas destroying a subset of these civilizations. Even though it was an exercise in speculation, I found his arguments for this variable to be persuasive, and applicable to our/my own situation.

Blogger James Dixon December 12, 2016 3:57 PM  

> Do you know how many people cowered away from election bets? Everyone knew who would win the election, and few would put their money where their mouths were.

Well, never bet money you can't afford to lose, but in point of fact we put $20 on the election. That's how certain we were after our drive through Ohio and seeing all the Trump signs there.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan December 12, 2016 4:01 PM  

Well as election bets go the crazies on the Left and in the establishment won't let it go so I would collect from the bookies as soon as possible.

Blogger pyrrhus December 12, 2016 4:11 PM  

This! But the pursuit of unvarnished truth is the most enjoyable and beneficial sport on earth. I expect all my ideas and theories to be wrong in whole or in part, but that leads me to ideas and theories that are less wrong...

Blogger SirHamster December 12, 2016 4:27 PM  

Bad ideas must die if good ideas are to take their place.

How much human suffering is caused by misplaced loyalty to bad ideas?

Anonymous Hugh G. Gaines December 12, 2016 4:28 PM  

I dunno. It seems to me like a lot of people with bad ideas tend to be bad across the board, in both ideas and deeds.

Blogger dc.sunsets December 12, 2016 4:40 PM  

It sounds great to give up on failed ideas until you have nothing as an alternative, especially when the ideas are the basis for planning.

Yes, a wrong map is worse than no map at all. But in my experience, doubling down is natural until one reaches, like an addict, rock bottom.

I don't like horror films, either. Absolutely hated Alien as a first run movie in a large theater. Life may be one surprise after another, but not everyone is likely to learn to enjoy it, and I speak as someone who is successful in most of life's major endeavors. I don't like surprises, including surprises to the upside (e.g., the last 21 years.)

Prechter's work is emblematic; while I (still) believe his overarching theory is correct, practical application of it has so much embedded confirmation bias that a reader ends up only catching the promise of foreknowledge, not the endless caveats and cautions. It thus becomes the rope by which people hang themselves. His is THE cautionary tale proving that no one knows the most important of all aspects of forecasting: When?

Each and every one of us, consciously or not, adopts a paradigm by which we plan. This includes people who don't plan at all, the paradigm they employ embraces optimism in spontaneity. The problem we all face is that the paradigm we use may be applicable only temporarily, even if that period is measured in decades.

Blogger Noah B The MacroAggressor December 12, 2016 4:44 PM  

I certainly hoped Trump would win, but I felt confident that the Dems would do their best to rig the election. I still believe they did exactly that, but it just wasn't enough to turn the tide against Russian Nazi hackers.

Blogger dc.sunsets December 12, 2016 4:45 PM  

@7 Bad ideas must die if good ideas are to take their place.

How much human suffering is caused by misplaced loyalty to bad ideas?


You're presupposing that people exercise conscious control over their own thinking. I strongly believe this is largely incorrect, and that most people spend most of their mental efforts rationalizing decisions made far deeper than conscious, much less rational, thought.

The real thinking people do is so intertwined with their sense of self (in their limbic system, the primitive part of the brain) that you might as well posit that people can excise their very sense of self in order to better reject folly and embrace good ideas.

Blogger Matthew Davis December 12, 2016 4:52 PM  

Our natural reaction to realizing you were wrong is to disavow and try to forget. Look at it as an opportunity to improve yourself instead

Anonymous A Most Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Deplorable Cents December 12, 2016 4:53 PM  

@10 Noah
Russian Nazi hackers.



Deplorable Russian Nazi haker5, please!

Blogger JWM in SD December 12, 2016 4:54 PM  

Interesting that the housing bubble is mentioned. I was in socal from the height of insanity circa 2004 through 2014. I didn't buy in either although it was tempting to do so in 2009 / 10.

OpenID basementhomebrewer December 12, 2016 4:57 PM  

James Dixon wrote:> Do you know how many people cowered away from election bets? Everyone knew who would win the election, and few would put their money where their mouths were.

Well, never bet money you can't afford to lose, but in point of fact we put $20 on the election. That's how certain we were after our drive through Ohio and seeing all the Trump signs there.


The thing to note about Trump's Ohio (10%) win is that Secretary of State has undergone a 3 year campaign to purge the voter roles of dead voters and invalid registrations. I would like to think that indicates how much Trump likely won by in PA, WI and MI which are states that have not undertaken a similar campaign.

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents December 12, 2016 5:01 PM  

Don’t take being wrong personally.

Probably easier for some people than others. Insecure people who have a lot of their personal value invested in being 'right" don't respond well when shown to be wrong. More secure people who can separate out their opinions from their core beliefs do better.

Say the tire on my truck is flat, and I need to use the truck. I can deny that the truck is not working and drive on the tire, tearing it up, or I can accept reality and reinflate the tire, fix it if need be. Simple example.

Now research says fat is good for you, I know people who will totally reject this because it contradicts what they learned in high school health class. Plus they have a lot of emotional investment in being "healthy" and eating "well" not "fat".

The Truth cannot be compromised, because it comes from God. Any truths that come from man are inherently incomplete, and can be wrong. Know what is worth clinging to, what is worth standing on, and what is not.

Blogger Phunctor December 12, 2016 5:13 PM  

"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken."

The alternative leads to pigheadedly rejecting disconfirming data because you have assigned an a priori probability of 0.000.

Blogger SirHamster December 12, 2016 5:21 PM  

dc.sunsets wrote:How much human suffering is caused by misplaced loyalty to bad ideas?

You're presupposing that people exercise conscious control over their own thinking. I strongly believe this is largely incorrect, and that most people spend most of their mental efforts rationalizing decisions made far deeper than conscious, much less rational, thought.


Not quite what I was thinking. Misplaced loyalty can be inculcated, as they do in public schools.

Those of us who can, must develop the mental integrity to dissociate our self from our pet ideas. It's not personal; fail faster.

Accepting your view that few are able to act at this level, we may actually have need for a thought police. Not as the SJWs do it by pointing and shrieking at bad-think, but still occupying the same ecological niche. Using rhetoric and dialectic in the service of Truth to destroy the power of bad ideas in community and culture.

Anonymous Athor Pel December 12, 2016 5:23 PM  

I was wrong today. I've done it before. I'll do it again.

My job is like being a gardener for a database. I tend the integrity of the data. I can't help but notice errors and systematic errors committed by the other folks that work in the database sometimes annoy me.

Today I saw a pattern of error I had seen before. A pattern of error committed by my coworkers twice before. I love history tables.

Finding the same pattern for the third time made me concerned enough to talk to my boss about it, right then. After telling my boss what I found and sharing my annoyance, I mean my concern, I go back to my desk and keep investigating.

I find that even though the pattern I saw was superficially identical to what I saw before, it was actually the result of three different people working on the same project at different points in time from different source documents, and

I was one of those people.

Hello humility.

Blogger Noah B The MacroAggressor December 12, 2016 5:40 PM  

@14 Yeah I was hoping to wait to buy a house until the next crash, but I needed to get my family out of the ghetto and into a slightly better ghetto.

Blogger dc.sunsets December 12, 2016 6:08 PM  

Accepting your view that few are able to act at this level, we may actually have need for a thought police.

This is the great paradox, particularly vexing in our times when "scientific management by the experts" is so fashionable. Given the example of dietary fats (and the entire paradigm of the modern economics profession), the Thought Police are already active, and almost always wrong.

Cognitive errors are every bit as common among the highly intelligent and/or highly educated as everyone else, and an enormous amount of what we use to guide our modern lives cannot be tested in the way we test engineering solutions to problems. Quite literally, this is how bad ideas gain so much traction that they lead to major catastrophes.

I regard changes that occurred in the USA during the mid-1960's to be the result of enormous cognitive errors whose full effects are still, 50 years later, not fully visible (despite being Everest-sized.)

The more I learn about the pervasive myths we all hold about human thought processes (and their biologically embedded errors), the more amazed am I that we're not all still flaking chips off rocks to make arrow heads.

As individuals, the best we can do in my opinion is:
1. Have a plan B (and preferably a Plan C and D)
2. Remember that no one knows the future. Gurus are plentiful, and if they pound the table in their certainty, grow more cautious.
3. Look for signs your impulsive mind is doing the steering. It usually steers toward immediate pleasures for which the costs are inevitably too high.
4. Try not to obsess about getting it all right. Enjoy the adventure, it's the only game in town and it promises to end all too soon.

Blogger dc.sunsets December 12, 2016 6:10 PM  

@20 Yeah I was hoping to wait to buy a house until the next crash, but I needed to get my family out of the ghetto and into a slightly better ghetto.

Yeah, I'm still waiting for stocks to get cheap so I can ride a bull wave. They didn't get cheap enough in 2002 and in 2009. I also watched gold put in its low last summer without jumping aboard.

Some people are psychologically ill-equipped to see speculative opportunity; I suspect I also could never hit a curve ball no matter how many times I tried.

Blogger Badger Brigadon December 12, 2016 6:18 PM  

I made a grand total of almost 6 thousand Dollars off of Trump's election this year, a grand off of italy and (unfortunately) lost 600 bucks on Austria's election.

Confidence has it's remunerations.

Blogger Timmy3 December 12, 2016 6:24 PM  

Stocks and Housing: The risk to staying out of the market is worse than staying in the market. Timing the stock market is hard so its better to put a little in or do an imaginary wager to see if your choices are correct or a fools errand. With housing, if you find the right house at the right location, it isn't a wrong decision. Worse is buying the wrong house at the wrong location for you can't get out so quickly. So its better to keep looking and pass up easy opportunities. For instance, never buy an one bedroom condo or a two bedroom house, or a house close to a minority community that isn't your ideal neighborhood just because its cheap (I've done that).

As for politics, its okay to have doubts even if your man wins. I've been waiting for something to happen ever since Republicans won Congress. It's been a long wait. It's been a longer wait since GW Bush won the White House. Still waiting for something to be done about illegal immigration....

Blogger James Dixon December 12, 2016 7:03 PM  

> Stocks and Housing: The risk to staying out of the market is worse than staying in the market.

With stocks, certainly. Housing is less certain and renting is always an option. It's usually the more expensive option, but the mobility advantage may make it worthwhile for some people.

Setting up a sample portfolio with imaginary money (including all the fees and taxes) is a really good training exercise. I recommend it to folks who aren't certain about getting into the market. And if you're not comfortable picking stocks (most people aren't), then a simple total stock index fund will probably meet your needs.

Blogger Arthur Isaac December 12, 2016 7:13 PM  

I came for the insights. I stayed for the humility.

Blogger Roger Hill December 12, 2016 7:23 PM  

I am always leery of individuals whose basic worldview changes widely from one season to the next. However, I generally am sympathetic when I see adjustments to ones views (whether slightly or dramatically) over time.

This is particularly true on political ideas. I was once a neocon (sorry to say). Then I was as apathetic concerning politics as anyone could possibly be. Who could stay an excited neocon for more than a year, other than a huge and complete fool? Then Ron Paul 'cured my apathy' and I became a Libertarian. That lasted much longer.

Now here I am posting on the site that is full of all us racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic bigots!

Seriously though, the Altright is way more a threat to the 'establishment' I used to complain about than Ron Paul libertarians ever were.

Anonymous Teapartydoc December 12, 2016 7:30 PM  

Bingo.

Blogger Rusty Fife December 12, 2016 7:42 PM  

James Dixon wrote:And if you're not comfortable picking stocks (most people aren't)

Monkeys with dart boards make better stock picks than pros. You too can throw darts! Plus, because you haven't agonized over your pick, it is easier to stick with the exit srategy.

Blogger The Other Robot December 12, 2016 9:12 PM  

I notice that BGKB is an anagram of BKGB!

Putin's interference extends all the way down!

Blogger Aeoli Pera December 12, 2016 10:32 PM  

This is extremely good advice, particularly for intellectuals.

Anonymous Alexamenos December 12, 2016 10:54 PM  

My approach has long been that I'll shamelessly plagiarize the best arguments that I can find, which is why I've been a VD reader for a long long time. It's an approach that has served me well.

Blogger Kristophr December 12, 2016 11:30 PM  

dc.sunsets wrote:@20
...
Yeah, I'm still waiting for stocks to get cheap so I can ride a bull wave. They didn't get cheap enough in 2002 and in 2009. I also watched gold put in its low last summer without jumping aboard.
...


Buy the gold and silver now. Do not worry about price bounces. The US dollar is in an incredible bubble right now, and when it pops, it will take all of the currencies that are backed by US dollars down with it.

Just stack physical metal and sit on it.

Blogger tim December 13, 2016 3:27 AM  

Wrong ideas don't kill as many people bad ideas. Bad ideas are advanced by evil people.

Blogger tim December 13, 2016 3:27 AM  

Wrong ideas don't kill as many people bad ideas. Bad ideas are advanced by evil people.

Blogger Roger Hill December 13, 2016 6:32 AM  

@32
I'm Guilty too, and have also been served well.

Blogger Daniel December 13, 2016 6:59 AM  

As a rather demanding it guy, i can relate. Who did this this crap???? It turns up i did, in special strssfull circunstances

Blogger James Dixon December 13, 2016 8:28 AM  

> Just stack physical metal and sit on it.

If you expect that dollar crash to take down the trading markets, then yes. Otherwise the paper version is just as good. Yeah, in the event of TEOTWAWKI, it won't do you any good, but short of that it will meet most people's needs as an investment vehicle. I do recommend having a small supply of gold or silver coins on hand, just in case.

And gold should never be your only investment. It's too easy to manipulate the markets. Investing in one area in which diversity is your friend.

Not for the first time, allow me to recommend: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003JMF4GG/

Anonymous andrewknorr December 13, 2016 9:15 AM  

Here's a bad idea to lot go of: Pizzagate. A complete embarrassment.

Blogger Rusty Fife December 13, 2016 3:53 PM  

andrewknorr wrote:Here's a bad idea to lot go of: Pizzagate. A complete embarrassment.

We're only advocating following the tunnel to see where it leads.

Anonymous LastRedoubt December 13, 2016 9:14 PM  

@26 Arthur Isaac

I came for the insights. I stayed for the humility.


Amen

OpenID ymarsakar December 14, 2016 8:35 AM  

We are all wrong on a regular basis.

Except for those in High IQ societies, those are considered to be above lesser mortals. Although even they don't know the actual function/origin of their gifts.

This obsession on IQ is much like DC's obsession with the patronage system.

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