Dear introverts: It’s a people-infused world out there and, sometimes you gotta find ways to skip the small talk, ditch the networking event and get a little restorative you time. Here, eight things to do to stay sane on the days that challenge you the most.
GET SOME SOLO EXERCISE
For you, hell is a crowded Soul Cycle class where everyone’s in competition. Keep your workouts to yourself and consider it restorative for both your mind and body. Just you and Beyoncé for miles and miles…
FAKE A MEETING
The guest list: You. The agenda: Walking loops around the block. (Or closing your eyes and repeating your mantra.)
SEND YOUR CALLS TO VOICEMAIL
The pressure to be on call is constant. Give yourself permission not to answer every message the instant it comes in and we promise you’ll be better prepared to deal with the onslaught.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
Pop out to a museum at lunch, read an article about lady truck drivers, listen to a podcast about the Greek economy. At the very least, it’ll give you something to talk about the next time you’re caught in an uncomfortable social situation.
Less eye contact, less talking. Who cares if you’re indoors?
EAT A MEAL OR HAVE A DRINK ALONE
Just us, or is there a ton of social pressure to turn meals into a group affair? If your pals invite you lunch, but you’d rather just brown-bag it in the park, don’t feel shy about turning down the offer.
WIND DOWN WITH A BOOK OR NETFLIX
You know what helps you relax? House of Cards. You know what doesn’t? Arguing with your husband about whose turn it is to take the car in for inspection. Finish your day with some solo time, and save the chitchat for the a.m.
AND GET PLENTY OF SHUT-EYE
Your bed is your happy place. OK, fine, Fluffy is invited too.
Every time you shuffle a deck of playing cards, it’s likely that you have come up with an ordering of cards that is unique in human history. For example, I shuffled a deck of cards this afternoon, and my friend Adam split the deck, and this is the order that the cards came out it.
How many different orders are there?
There are 52 cards in a deck of cards. Imagine an “ordering of cards” as 52 empty spots to be filled:
How many different possibilities are there for what could go in the first spot? The answer is 52 – any of the 52 cards could go there. What about the second spot? Now that you’ve already chosen a card for the first spot, there are only 51 cards left, so there are only 51 different possibilities for the second spot. And for the third spot, we only have 50 choices.
If we stop there, and just fill up the first three spots, that’s like asking how many different possibilites there are for dealing three cards in order. Here’s one of the possibilites:
How many different possible combinations are there for three cards in order? We just multiply how many possibilities there were for the first position (52) with the possibilities for the second position (51) with the possibilities for the third position (50). So there are 52 • 51 • 50 = 132600 different possibilites for three cards in order.
What about a whole deck? We just multiply the possibilities for each of the 52 positions, which is 52 • 51 • 50 • 49 • 48 • 47 • 46 • 45 • 44 • 43 • 42 • 41 • 40 • 39 • 38 • 37 • 36 • 35 • 34 • 33 • 32 • 31 • 30 • 29 • 28 • 27 • 26 • 25 • 24 • 23 • 22 • 21 • 20 • 19 • 18 • 17 • 16 • 15 • 14 • 13 • 12 • 11 • 10 • 9 • 8 • 7 • 6 • 5 • 4 • 3 • 2 • 1. A mathematical way of representing all those numbers multiplied together is called the factorial (See description on MathWorld), so we could write this as 52!, which means the same thing. When you multiply all those numbers together, you get 80658175170943878571660636856403766975289505440883277824000000000000. That number is 68 digits long. We can round off and write it like this: 8.0658X1067.
How many times have cards been shuffled in human history?
That’s an impossible number to know. So let’s overestimate. Currently, there are between 6 and 7 billion people in the world. Also, the modern deck of 52 playing cards has been around since 1300 A.D. probably. If we assume that 7 billion people have been shuffling cards once a second for the past 700 years, that will be way more than the actual number of times cards have been shuffled. 700 years is 255675 days (plus or minus a couple for leap year centuries), which is 22090320000 seconds. Now, if 7000000000 people had been shuffling cards once a second for 22090320000 seconds, they would have come up with 7000000000 • 22090320000 different combinations, or orderings of cards. When you multiply those numbers together you get 154632240000000000000, or rounding off, 1.546X1020.
So, it’s safe to say that in human history, playing cards have been shuffled in less than 1.546X1020 different orders.
Is this order unique in human history?
Probably so. When I shuffled the cards this afternoon, and came up with the order you see in the picture, that is one of 8.0658X1067 different possible orders that cards can be in. However, in the past 700 years since playing cards were invented, cards have been shuffled less than 1.546X1020 times. So the chances that one of those times they got shuffled into the same exact order you see here are less than 1 in 100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 (1 in 1047).
At what point do you say something is impossible? If the chances are 1 in 1000? 1 in a million?1 in ten trillion?1 in 1 in 1047? In the movie Dumb and Dumber (See IMDB Info), Lloyd asks Mary what the chances are of the two of them getting together. She replies “1 in a million.” He responds, “so you’re saying there’s a chance?!”
So… if you think there’s a chance that maybe, just maybe somebody, somewhere, at some time may have shuffled a deck of cards just like this ordering you see here, then you’re like Lloyd Christmas in the movie.
The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which relatively unskilled persons suffer illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than it really is.
Incompetent people cannot recognize just how incompetent they are, a phenomenon that has come to be known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Logic itself almost demands this lack of self-insight: For poor performers to recognize their ineptitude would require them to possess the very expertise they lack.
In self-evaluations of driving ability, job performance, and even immunity to bias, we tend to polish our image.
Dunning and Kruger proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:
fail to recognize their own lack of skill
fail to recognize the extent of their inadequacy
fail to recognize genuine skill in others
recognize and acknowledge their own lack of skill, after they are exposed to training for that skill
My favorite quote is “The most confident-sounding respondents often seem to think they do have some clue — as if there is some fact, some memory, or some intuition that assures them their answer is reasonable.”
Here are a few quotes from the past. It should really highlight that the same things are said about new generations by past generations and are meaningless:
“I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth is reckless beyond words… When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint” (Hesiod, 8th century BC).
“The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress.” (Peter the Hermit, 1274 AD)
“What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?” (Plato ~400 BC)
“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect to their elders…. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and are tyrants over their teachers.” Socrates
If it were true that when belief in God weakens, societal well-being diminishes, then we should see abundant evidence for this. But we don’t. In fact, we find just the opposite: Those societies today that are the most religious — where faith in God is strong and religious participation is high — tend to have the highest violent crime rates, while those societies in which faith and church attendance are the weakest — the most secular societies — tend to have the lowest.
We can start at the international level. The most secular societies today include Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Czech Republic, Estonia, Japan, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Germany, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam, Hungary, China and Belgium. The most religious societies include Nigeria, Uganda, the Philippines, Pakistan, Morocco, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, El Salvador, Colombia, Senegal, Malawi, Indonesia, Brazil, Peru, Jordan, Algeria, Ghana, Venezuela, Mexico and Sierra Leone.
It is the highly secularized countries that tend to fare the best in terms of crime rates, prosperity, equality, freedom, democracy, women’s rights, human rights, educational attainment and life expectancy. (Although there are exceptions, such as Vietnam and China, which have famously poor human rights records.) And those nations with the highest rates of religiosity tend to be the most problem-ridden in terms of high violent crime rates, high infant mortality rates, high poverty rates and high rates of corruption.
No God? No problem, says god-free thinker Sam Harris No God? No problem, says god-free thinker Sam Harris Take homicide. According to the United Nations’ 2011 Global Study on Homicide, of the 10 nations with the highest homicide rates, all are very religious, and many — such as Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador and Brazil — are among the most theistic nations in the world. Of the nations with the lowest homicide rates, nearly all are very secular, with seven ranking among the least theistic nations, such as Sweden, Japan, Norway and the Netherlands.
Now consider the flip side: peacefulness. According to the nonprofit organization Vision of Humanity, which publishes an annual Global Peace Index, each of the 10 safest and most peaceful nations in the world is also among the most secular, least God-believing in the world. Most of the least safe and peaceful nations, conversely, are extremely religious.
As professor Stephen Law of the University of London observed: “If a decline in religiosity were the primary cause [of social ills], then we would expect those countries that have seen the greatest decline to have the most serious problems. But that is not the case.”
What about within the United States? According to the latest study from the Pew Research Center, the 10 states that report the highest levels of belief in God are Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Oklahoma (tied with Utah). The 10 states with the lowest levels of belief in God are Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Alaska, Oregon and California. And as is the case in the rest of the world, when it comes to nearly all standard measures of societal health, including homicide rates, the least theistic states generally fare much better than the most theistic. Consider child-abuse fatality rates: Highly religious Mississippi’s is twice that of highly secular New Hampshire’s, and highly religious Kentucky’s is four times higher than highly secular Oregon’s.
It is, of course, impossible to conclude from any of this data that secularism, in and of itself, causes societal well-being, or that religiosity causes social ills. Peacefulness, prosperity and overall societal goodness are undoubtedly caused by multiple, complex factors — economic, geographic, cultural, political, historical and so forth. That said, it is clear that a strong or increased presence of secularism isn’t the damaging threat to society so many continually claim it to be. If only the likes of O’Reilly and Huckabee would take heed.
‘We are pattern-seeking primates. Our brains are designed by evolution to constantly be forming connections, patterns, learning things about the environment. We connect A to B to C, and often A really is connected to B, and B really is connected to C. This is called association learning. But we do not have a false-pattern-detection device in our brains to help us distinguish between true and false patterns, and so we make errors in our thinking. A type 1 error is believing a pattern is real when it is not(a false positive) and a type 2 error is not believing a pattern is real when it is(a false negative)
Go back in time, a few million years:
You hear a rustle in the grass. Is it a dangerous predator or just the wind?
If you think that the rustle in the grass is a dangerous predator, and it turns out it’s just the wind, you have made a type one error in cognition, a false positive. You thought the wind was connected to something and it wasn’t; You thought A was connected to B, but it wasn’t. So that’s a false positive but that’s relatively harmless. But if you think that the rustle in the grass is just the wind, but it’s really a dangerous predator, you’re lunch. You’ve just been given a Darwin award for taking yourself out of the gene pool early before reproducing. We are the descendants of those who are most likely to make type one errors, a false positive, versus type two errors, a false negative.
Why can’t you just stay in the grass and collect enough data to get the answer right? Well predators don’t wait around for prey animals to collect more data; that’s why they stalk and sneak up on their prey animals, so they can’t get enough data. So we evolved the propensity to make snap decisions and make one kind of error more likely than another kind of error, that kind of error, a false positive, is superstition. That’s magical thinking; that’s assuming A is connected to B and is a true pattern. It isn’t. You are wrong. That’s the basis of finding false patterns like gods.
What’s the difference between the wind and a dangerous predator? The wind is an inanimate force – a dangerous predator is an intentional agent. And his intention is to eat me and that can’t be good. So what we also do in addition to finding these meaningful patterns is infuse into them agency. That is “it’s alive”, “it’s real” and has intention. And the intention is not good, so I better assume it’s real. This is the basis of animism, spiritism, polytheism, monotheism and the belief of angels and aliens and demons and spirits and poltergeists and gods. Gods are invisible agents who run the world to control things who create these patterns (who are these patterns that we used to explain things). All cultures everywhere in the world have created god beliefs, gods that are intentional agents