Pinch Hit Sock Machine
So a couple of weeks ago I was in the local laundromat because the machines in my apartment complex were being repaired because they weren’t working properly. When things are not working properly you need to look inside, fix what’s broken so they can get back to being in fine working order.
I was standing in front of this dryer, carefully putting my quarters into the slot. Slide the metal tray in. Wait for the quarters to drop. Pull the metal tray back out and hopefully the laundry machine will cooperate and start when you push the button.
The guy a couple machines down looked at me and said maybe we’ll get lucky and win the jackpot, obviously making a reference to putting quarters in a laundry machine is very similar to putting quarters and a slot machine.
Neighbor’s Origin Story
I had met my neighbor after he had already successfully overcome his gambling addiction. One day he finally told me the story. It took a while to tell me the story but he wanted me to know what he had gone through.
He had started a job as an engineer. He was with his girlfriend in college. He had a huge bright future. The guy was a super genius. The guy still is a super genius and he started at this company. Within a year him and his college girlfriend got married. A year later they had a baby.
His future was absolutely bright. Then they went to a conference in Las Vegas. He had never been to Las Vegas before. Because he was a scientifically minded person, he was fully aware of the probabilities of gambling and the ideas of the statistical causes of the gambler’s ruin in the gambler’s fallacy.
Gambling Is A Bad Bet
He was fully aware of why gambling was a very bad bet from rational standpoint. But what he didn’t anticipate was the emotional power that gambling had on him. Only after an hour was his internal emotional reference system completely messed up.
Within that first hour, he had completely re-calibrated his confirmation bias and his hindsight bias. The reason gambling is a terrible bet is because the losses will always be larger than the wins. But if you have an incorrectly calibrated confirmation bias and hindsight bias you will miss understand the mathematics.
Your emotions will make every random win seem a lot bigger in your mind from an emotional standpoint. The further you gamble the more behind you lose and the less likely you’ll be aware of how much are actually losing.
Problem Nearly Destructive
Within a couple of years this had grown into a horrible problem. Both his wife and his company had given him an ultimatum within a very short amount of time. Fix your gambling problem or you will lose us. The wife said fix your gambling problem or we will leave you. The company said fix your gambling problem or we will fire you.
He had tried everything. He had tried Al-Anon. He had gone to several different groups. Several different gambling addiction groups. None of them worked and finally in his desperation he found this hypnotist. This hypnotist that said he might try to help there were no guarantees.
They went deep into his brain and they found a lot of problems in his childhood with his relationship to authority. They found that one of the problems he had that made him so susceptible to gambling addiction was he treated gambling as some type of metaphorical parent.
As a child he never felt he had any control over how his parents treated him and this seemed very familiar when he was gambling. He had no control over when he won or lost and this reminded him of being a child when he had no control over whether his parents treated him nicely or unkindly.
The first step was to disconnect this assumed relationship between the external metaphorical gambling entity and his childhood parents. This was relatively easy. Then they had to retrain how he saw a risk.
Another problem was because he was a scientist, he never really dealt with risk. As a scientist, scientists tend to study things that they want to know what is true and what to know what is factually correct. He didn’t have a lot of experience with taking natural human risks.
Humans Need Natural Risk
The natural human mind-body system needs to take risks. We have to learn from risks. We have to learn by taking appropriate risks. The natural way of human learning comes from taking a risk, not getting the result that you want but learning from your mistake. A lot of jobs a lot of professions involve learning by taking risks.
If you’re a salesperson, every time you try to make a sale and you don’t make a sale you can still learn from what happen. If you’re a painter and you spend two months painting a painting and it doesn’t sell you can still learn from the new techniques you’ve tried. But as a scientist they don’t really gain a lot of experience learning from their mistakes, at least not nearly as much as other professions.
These two combined ideas made him particularly susceptible to the gambler’s ruin. When they finally went in and re-calibrated his emotions, when they finally taught him to learn how to take healthy risks, to learn from healthy trial and error, he was much more, much more happier.
Investing Is Not Gambling
In fact, he started to invest money, and using his calibrated emotions and his scientific knowledge, he became a very successful investor. His wife finally came back to him. He didn’t get fired from his company and his wife helped him to maintain his investing integrity. She would always watch his investments to make sure he followed his own investing rules.
It turns out that investing was much more rewarding than gambling because when investing, you can get in and out whenever you want. You don’t have to wait until the wheel stops turning.
Every time he looks at his son he’s reminded of how he almost lost everything. The time he took to fix his problem was between the times of his son being two years old and three years old. A kid going from two years old to three years old is a very formative time.
It’s when children start to learn. It’s when children start to form conscious memories. Every time he looks at his kid, even though he completely fixed his life, even though he got all of his money back and then some, every time he looks at his child he’s reminded of how he almost lost everything.
It’s very much like the metaphor of the father and the son. The father told the son that every time you make a mistake I’m going to pound a nail into this piece of wood. Every time you correct your mistake I will take the nail out. It didn’t take long for the son to realize that even though he had corrected his mistakes, the holes still remain.
Of course if you put quarters into a slot machine you might get rich you might be broke. If you put quarters into a laundromat machine all you’ll get is dry socks. Judging by the statistical probabilities of gambling dry socks is a better bet that a slot machine.
Mind Persuasion has plenty of books and courses to teach you how to speak hypnotically and persuasively.