The Blind Spot

It's the thing that puzzles me most of all.

The Blind Spot.

The thing we believe is true even when evidence shows it's not.

For example, how many of us believe we only use 10% of our brains? That's true, right?

Nope. In fact, the 10% myth is so wrong it's almost laughable. It's unbelievable how long we've carried that falsehood in our minds. 

Yet the really fascinating question is: How many people will go ahead and believe it anyway?

The answer, of course, is many.

Why?

Why do we have this Blind Spot?

There are several reasons. One, we tend to compartmentalize. People have one part of their brain for beliefs and a separate part of our brains to gather facts. And those two sections don't talk. 

On one hand, we believe in something. Hooray! On the other hand, all the facts contradict that belief. Whatever. 

The two don't bleed into one another.

Another big reason is that we're all more emotional than we'd like to admit. On certain topics, we don't use reason to find truth. We instead want to believe something first and then use reason to try to help us hold on for dear life.

My son couldn't possibly have committed that crime! He was so nice as a boy and never did anything mean to anyone. 

But, sir, he confessed and was found sleeping in the stolen car.

He didn't do it!

But what's the big deal? So what if we believe little things that obviously aren't true?

The cost can be quite high.

For example, what if you bought a stock back in 1987 and lost money on it. As a result, you believe, The stock market is rigged! even though, obviously, it's not. What's the cost? About $207,000.

That's what you'd have now if you didn't have that negative belief and had invested $10,000 in the stock market back in '87.

Or it can cost us outrageous success.

Several years ago, a now-famous American high school football coach realized that kicking the ball away is stupid. There's no justifiable reason for it and the math shows that it's absolutely a losing proposition. The only reason coaches do it is: that's the way it's always been done. 

So the coach, Kevin Kelley (Pulaski Academy), decided that he wasn't going to kick anymore. He decided his teams would run plays until they scored or until they were stopped. No punting on third down and no kicking off after scores. The math said that his teams would be wildly successful if they stopped doing it, so he stopped.

Everyone thought he was an idiot. His fans thought he was mad. You punt if you don't get a first down. That's what everyone does!

How has it gone for Kelley and his team? His overall record is 165-25-1, and he's won six state championships. 

But here's the fun part. 

After all of Kelley's winning, after he's proven time and time again that the math is right, after he's dominated high school football for over a decade, guess how many other coaches have copied him?

Zero. No one. Nobody else does it.

That's the Blind Spot. 

And it will probably vex me forever.

My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.