Tuesday, November 8, 2011

mind your p's and q's (still more on self-fulfilling beliefs)

If you believe you've failed, you have.

I don't think I can put it more simply than that. So remember that.

In substance, this doesn't add anything to what I've previously harped on. And yet I'm so continually shocked to see so much self-fulfilled failure that I keep wanting to harp more.

I think part of the problem is that the inverse statement is decidedly false, and a little crazy-wishful-thinking-hippie sounding (i.e., "If you believe you can succeed, you will."). And, since we are not very good at automatically recognizing that contrapositives, not inverses or converses, are the truths that are equivalent to any if-then statement, we are too quick to dismiss the crucial inverse of the crazy hippie poster slogan.

Yet another reason to replace the relatively useless bits of high school curricula with logic, probability and statistics, and economics...

For the record, if p implies q, then not-q implies not-p. But q does not imply p, nor does not-p imply not-q. Within this example, if you believe you have failed, you have. Therefore, if you haven't failed, you must still believe you can succeed - the contrapositive. But, if you fail, it doesn't mean that you just stopped believing in yourself - the converse. And it doesn't mean that if you believe in yourself, you will succeed - the inverse. Don't be embarrassed if you were never taught this; you're in the vast majority. Just get it straight now and please spread the sanity.


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