The last couple mornings I have had a thought and it is such a good thought I haven’t thought to write it down. This morning the thought was accompanied by a second thought that went something like oh there is that thought I will remember it tonight and incorporate it in my writing. I, of course, am not. I have no idea what that thought was only that it relates to the book I am currently listening to when I am in my care, Thinking, Fast and Slow.
It is an interesting book on the art or science of decision making. I just tried to talk to my wife about it and got nothing but a blank stare. I wanted to relate it to myself and why it is that I have some difficulty communicating with people and more importantly attracting people to my viewpoints.
It is multifold. My mind has been slightly rewired from the norm to be more analytical. I give credit to my baseball fandom and my joy of experiencing my baseball fandom through statistics. A number of the statistics and psychological effects mentioned in Think, Fast and Slow I have learned about through my baseball fandom. This has caused me to become a somewhat analytical thinker and to consider statistical answers to questions when most people want a personal story or anecdotal evidence.
So, as my wife was trying to go upstairs to bed I said to her that this book has shown me why I have trouble communicating with people. I told her about a time I gave someone a statistical fact and they said that hasn’t been their experience and pointed out two instances as if it invalidated the fact. People don’t want statistical facts. They want stories. Facts don’t persuade people of anything. Stories do.
Another important thing I have learned from Thinking, Fast and Slow is why no one takes my expertise seriously. Why is it that I go into a client’s home, who just got their first puppy and called us to help with the care, and if I give advice it is either ignored or dismissed. I see more pets in a day than most people will own in a lifetime, but every band new puppy owner I meet believes their knowledge to be vastly superior to mine when it comes to puppy care.
This is, quite simply, the nature of human nature. People overvalue their personal experience. People believe what they believe and it is nearly impossible to move them off those beliefs. It is why when I tell someone that punishment based training methods have been proven to be less effective than positive reinforcement when it comes to learning new behaviors they never listen.
It is here that I find myself guilty of the thing I am accusing others of. I overvalue my personal experience. I listen to statistics, I want facts, and I cannot fathom that other people do not. I cannot fathom that the experience of Aunt Sally’s Facebook friend from Duluth Minnesota would be more valuable than an inconvertible fact. Yet to most people it is.
I just remembered my thought. It was to compare this exact thing to a quote from one of the Foundation novels by Isaac Asimov, “You show me someone who can’t understand people and I’ll show you someone who has built up a false image of himself.”