Arrow Vs. Target
The idea of outcome independence is pretty common.
That if you’re in a situation where you really WANT the outcome, it makes it harder to get it.
This is best understood from a purely brain engineering standpoint.
Let’s say you’re going in for a job interview.
Not just a regular job, but one that could start a fantastic career.
When you are practicing in the abstract, it seems pretty easy.
You imagine the questions.
You give a decent response.
You imagine the BEST case response from the interviewer.
You feel pretty good.
But then you show up.
Over My Head
You see all the other dudes waiting for their turn.
This is when doubt starts to creep in.
You see a few guys that LOOK smarter than you.
They’re dressed better than you.
Before you even go into the interview room, you’re not so sure of yourself.
This triggers a very ancient confirmation bias.
Like if you were an ancient caveman, and thought you were walking into happy forest, but then saw signs their could be TIGERS nearby.
Your brain shifts AWAY from happy-fun-time TO “you might die.”
Which means your brain essentially shifts ALL its resources to make sure nothing BAD happens.
So when you go into the interview, your brain is on high alert for DANGER.
Every time you answer a question, and the guy says:
“Hmm. Interesting,” you assume that means you are DOOMED.
From a very basic level, if you have a HIGH dependency on the outcome, anything that makes it seem like you WON’T get that outcome triggers this ancient danger response.
Which makes it almost certain you WON’T get the outcome.
This is easy to fix in THEORY.
To just NOT be focused on the outcome.
But in practice, it’s not very helpful.
Suppose you were overweight by a few hundred pounds.
You asked your doctor for help.
And he said something like:
“Well, when you’re hungry, just IGNORE your desire to eat!”
Gee, thanks doc.
Unfortunately, in any conversation that MIGHT lead to sex or money, like conversations with gorgeous people or job interviews, just turning OFF your desires for these is just as difficult as NOT EATING when you are hungry.
Does this mean we are forever doomed?
Is there no hope?
Old School Gurus
Luckily, this problem has been a problem for a LONG TIME.
The ancient stoics (way back in BC) had a “solution.”
To focus on the shooting of the arrow, and not on the hitting of the target.
This is a more than 2000 year old way to be outcome independent.
But there are a lot of other ways.
It won’t happen quickly.
But it will be much easier than just flailing through hundreds of job interviews and getting rejected by hundreds of gorgeous people.
Turns out that training this out of your brain is pretty easy.
Negative Belief Crusher
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