Developer Tea

How Can We Be Wrong...Without Knowing It?

Episode Summary

In what ways are you wrong? In today's episode we'll be continuing our discussion on perception and the ways in which we are wrong is an important question to ask ourselves.

Episode Notes

In what ways are you wrong? In today's episode we'll be continuing our discussion on perception and the ways in which we are wrong is an important question to ask ourselves.

One of the ways to become a better developer is to acknowledge when we are wrong and accept that challenging our perceptions of the world is healthy. Today we dig into the different ways we can be wrong. We'll identify what those different ways are and offer healthy navigation techniques for when you notice your perceptions are being challenged.

###Today's Episode is Brought To You By: WooCommerce
WooCommerce is an open source eCommerce solution, built on WordPress. With WooCommerce you can sell physical products, digital downloads, subscriptions, memberships, services, and tickets - plus offer flexible ways to pay, including Apple Pay and Bitcoin powered by Stripe.

They're giving Developer Tea listeners 20% off purchases when you use promo code DEVELOPERTEA at (offer lasts until end March 2018)

Episode Transcription

In what ways are you wrong? We're continuing our discussion on perception in today's episode and this is an important question. It's something that we all deal with on a day-to-day basis. The ways in which we are wrong. It's an important question to ask because it's important to understand how our brains, how they go wrong and what kinds of things they do. We're going to talk about that in today's episode. My name is Jonathan Cutrell. You're listening to Developer Tea. My goal on this show is to help you become a better developer to connect to your career purpose so that you can do better work and have a positive influence on the people around you. One of the ways that you have to practice becoming a better developer is to understand that you, first of all, that you will be wrong. At some point, you're going to be wrong and in fact, more often than you realize, probably every day. In fact, almost certainly every day because there's multiple ways of being wrong. It's not just about having a wrong opinion. It's not just about writing a bug in your code. It's not about saying something incorrectly or spelling something incorrectly or having a wrong calculation in your mind. All of those things are errors, certainly, but sometimes the way that we perceive the world doesn't line up necessarily with the way someone else perceives it and more importantly, doesn't line up with a measurable way of describing the world. It doesn't scientifically make sense. What are some of the ways that we can be wrong? That's what we're talking about in today's episode. I'm going to cover some of those right after we thank today's wonderful sponsor, WooCommerce. WooCommerce has joined on with Developer Teaonce again in 2018. They're an open source e-commerce solution that's built on top of WordPress. Nearly 30% of all online stores on the web are powered by WooCommerce. It's fully customizable and you can build a unique store to suit your specific business needs while keeping the full control and flexibility in integrating with whatever e-commerce services you need to integrate with. This is based on your needs and experience level, but you can also write your own extensions in your own custom code. You probably want to do that because there's actually more than 140 extensions available in the official marketplace. Go and check it out and use the code Developer Teato get 20% off. That's 20% off slash Developer Tea. This promo code is good until March of 2018, until the end of March of 2018. So go and check it out once again, slash Developer Tea. Thank you again so much for sponsoring today's episode, WooCommerce. We appreciate you being such a great sponsor, returning to the show. So how can we be wrong? What are the ways that we can be wrong without even realizing it? This is not the quick feedback that we get from writing code and getting an immediate error and realizing that we're wrong and coming to terms with that. This is the other types of being wrong, the perceptive kinds of being wrong. One of the most obvious ones is exaggeration. This happens in so many different ways. It happens looking back into our previous days or years. We have memories that will exaggerate, will expand on. Sometimes we will minimize our memories more than they should be minimized. Of course, this happens in our day-to-day life as well. We may be exaggerating how long we think or how long we don't think something is going to take us. And even without knowing it, we may not necessarily intentionally be exaggerating. But our brain has a hard time of coming up with a quantifiable understanding of something. Some of this is because the memories that we have, they have really tangible moments. Our memories are not quantitative. They're certainly qualitative. So if you do something over and over and over, you may only remember doing that thing a specific number of times. You may only have a few memories of doing that thing. But it may be that you had done that thing in the far excess of those memories. And the same is true with every other experience that we have, that your understanding of that experience is greatly determined by your sensory experience. That's true for memories. It's also true for the present and your ability to quantify things that you understand. We talked about estimation so many times on this show. Specifically, one of the very first episodes we had was estimating sandwiches. And I won't ruin the punchline for you. But the simple idea is that even though something is easily grasped by our minds, the ability to understand the quantifiable energy that goes into it is very difficult. So we end up exaggerating how much we can do accidentally, how much we can do in a given hour or a given month. We end up exaggerating how much we can do in that time period accidentally. Other ways where wrong is when we employ some kind of protective mechanism that we don't understand. This happens all the time and some people are more sensitive to this than others. You can see this happening when somebody becomes defensive automatically. And they may not necessarily intend to defend themselves. They may actually be working as transparently as they know how. But their perception is limited. The reality is we're all defending ourselves to some extent. This is the way we're wired. We're supposed to defend ourselves. Now does this mean that it's healthy to constantly be socially defensive? This is a different thing. It's important to recognize when you're being defensive versus when you're defending yourself. Sometimes defending yourself means creating a safe environment for other people to work with you. If you're being defensive, however, this is a totally different thing. Being defensive is seeing a fence in everything that's coming your way. Never having the open mind of collaboration, for example. So this is another way we protect ourselves automatically. Another issue that we have as humans is the difficulty to perceive very small and very large numbers. And that might seem trivial, but it becomes very important when you, for example, if you were to go out and buy a lottery ticket, the chances of you winning that are almost imperceptibly small of you winning the lottery. Of course, it does happen, and the fact that it happens, even though it's extremely rare, is enough to drive people to buy that lottery ticket. Now this is what keeps the lottery in business. Similarly, it's very hard for us to grasp the actual magnitude of, for example, a galaxy. Even if you give the terms of the size of that thing, it's so difficult for us to understand it because even if we visualize it, we can't really tell tangibly interpolation from my size and my stature and my perception of the world. The largest thing that I can see is the sky. Now when you tell me about something that's much larger than what I can see, it's very difficult for me to conceptualize that, for me to visualize that in my mind. To very large and very small numbers, we tend to compress their meaning. So an extremely small number and a number that is ten times that extremely small number are very close together in the human mind. The same is true for extremely large numbers and slightly less large numbers, or even ten times less large numbers. We lump those things into the same categories. And here we're talking about things that have multiple digits of decimal places or multiple powers of ten to expand those numbers out to the edges. So we're much more likely to compress those numbers together and that causes us to have a disproportionate understanding of reality. There's lots of other ways that you can be wrong. We're not going to cover all of them today, but in your perception, there's a lot of other ways that you can be wrong. Certainly, we've talked about biases before. That is a relevant topic to today's discussion. We all have some shared biases that come along with being human, but we also have some specific biases, some personal biases. And these are important to understand as well. We're not going to get into them today. We've talked about some of them in the past. I encourage you to go and listen to those episodes. If you're interested in this subject, then certainly go back. There's tons of stuff about bias in previous episodes of Developer Tea. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. This wraps up our kind of many session on perception this week. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you again to WooCommerce for sponsoring today's episode. You can get 20% off of WooCommerce by heading over to slash Developer Tea. Use the code Developer Teaat checkout. Once again, 20% off. That code is good until the end of March 2018. Thank you again to WooCommerce for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. Thanks so much for listening. Until next time, enjoy your tea.