Things to Come

Each of us has a somewhat different perception of reality, i.e. the nature of something. Arguments can erupt between people having different perceptions. Logic and pervasiveness are tools we use to convince others that our perception is more correct and another wrong but those who win these arguments don’t necessarily have them most accurate perception. A better way to judge individual perceptions of reality is by their accuracy in forecasting how reality will unfold, as understanding the nature of something likely allows us the best guess of how it will be over time. Studies of “super forecasters” (people who are much better than most at forecasting upcoming events) have identified the following characteristics these people share:

Probabilistic thinking. Nothing is certain. There is no right answer, just likely outcomes. Ability to put mathematical weights to possible outcomes.

No righteousness. What happens isn’t preordained, isn’t necessarily a logical or moral outcome.

Metaphorical thinking. Able to see unrelated situations as shedding light on the subject at hand.

Curious. Engaged by thinking about how something works and driven to understand it.

Open-minded. Realizing that possible outcomes are only limited by one’s imagination.

Economic. Good at productively allocating time and resources to information gathering.

Detached/dispassionate. Able to view things from the outside in, without personal prejudices.

Wise. Able to view things from many perspectives.

Flexible. Openness to changing one’s point of view as conditions or one’s perception changes.

Humble. Knowing that one will never really understand something. Accepting that other forecasts are likely more accurate.

Integrity/confidence. Able to ultimately chose what one believes is the likely outcome.

While few people exhibit all of the above characteristics, those lacking many of them should be cautious in taking their perceptions of reality too seriously.