Clutter: The Hidden Costs.



lifes clutter

Clutter. Everyone has it.  Some more than others. But have your considered what clutter does to your life? Clutter hides the things that are important. Clutter obfuscates clarity.

Digging through clutter to find what you want, both physically and mentally, wastes time and energy. (Energy…we’ll get back to that concept in a moment.)

More importantly, clutter brings to life the past. If you’re in my tribe and believe that the world is a flux of energy and you attract that which matches your frequency (see Quantum Physics Theory!), you will see that the past is bringing more of that into your life, potentially energy (pun intended) that is not positive. Consider Einstein who said, “The definition of insanity is repeating the same actions and expecting a different result.”  If you want to turn things around, consider what reminders you may have cluttering your life and mind. If you want to move forward with your life, you have to put the past where it belongs –  in the past.

Reduce activities that don’t bring you joy or align with your life goals. This year, I am resigning from several citizen advisory boards with which I have participated for several years. I will continue volunteering in the community, but I will focus my energy on groups where I want to move forward. I will also lose the guilt or shame I feel explaining to others what changes I am making and why. It is ok.  And, who cares what I think anyway?!

Eliminate objects that bring forward past memories, particularly difficult ones. This way, you are better able to move forward in life. For instance, old VHS video cassettes take up space and, if you’re like me and tossed the old technology VHS player, are rarely viewed. Send them off to someone who can digitize them. It is only about twenty bucks per tape! CDs, documents, old photographs, likewise, can be digitized. As I am a photograph lover (and passionate traveler), I don’t like to get rid of pictures.  But, I have learned over time that it is ok to destroy a photograph I don’t like or one that brings up associated memories I may be better off to forget. Try it. It can be liberating.

Now I understand that some things, like old wedding rings (see MY photograph) riing
have value attached to them. If you don’t want to part with it, store it away; put it out of sight and mind. Or, consider changing it into something new. If you’re just keeping it for the financial value, find someone who can assess the value and then sell it. Use those proceeds to move forward in your life or create a new memory. I recently traded in my old wedding band for a new pair of earrings. I feel like I closed the door on a past mistake and opened a window of freedom!

As I launch into my 2016 goals and continue my transformation into a life of intention and peace, I am decluttering debris from both my space and mind. A debris removal might be the first big step on your peace journey allowing you to welcome new things, events, and, most importantly, people into your life. So dive in!  Have a great journey.  And, see my round cut diamond solitaire engagement ring for sale!

Namaste.ring 5

I welcome your comments and advice for future topics.  (If you want the ring, message me and I will provide diamond certification.)

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GONE GONE GONE…..Thank You Thank You Thank You to Deerwood Jewelers!  This “Bad Juju” as the jeweler said, is in my past allowing me to move on with my life in a more positive and free way! I hope someone else will enjoy the beautiful diamond!




Managing Overconfidence


Who can forget Dr. Ellie Sattler’s poignant retort to John Hammond in Jurassic Park?  “You never had control, that’s the illusion!”

A classic example of a judgment bias with disastrous effects.  The technological advancement of creating dinosaurs from DNA led Hammond to overconfidently believe he was in creative control and set the stage for failures of epic proportions. Overconfidence often results in poor decisions, perhaps not with T-Rex eating consequences, but loss producing judgments nonetheless. Managing overconfidence is an important part of decision making.

The field of decision making and behavioral economics study cognitive biases such as irrational escalation, loss aversion (see my past blog on loss aversion), confirmation bias, anchoring, availability heuristic and many more error causing predispositions including the overconfidence effect.

Overconfidence effect is excessive confidence in one’s answer or abilities over real accuracy. Overconfidence leads to underestimated risks and leaves one open for errors in judgments.  Some common causes of overconfidence are:

  • Illusion of control. Overestimating the amount of control one has over outcomes that are not subject to influence or control.  I would love to throw in Dr. Sattler and Dr. Ian Malcolm’s banter (ok, I will): Dr. Ian Malcolm says, “God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.”  To which Dr. Ellie Sattler trumps, “Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth.”  What really fits, though, is mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm’s argument against Hammond’s illusion of control bias, “Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Yes, Malcolm was right; the Velociraptors did not care that Hammond created them.
  • Availability. Failing to envision all the possible outcomes so we limit ourselves to ‘available’ options. Also known as the availability bias.  Frog DNA became the unimaginable solution Dr. Grant found.
  • Anchoring one option over others and giving it more weight.
  • Confirmation bias where we seek confirmation data instead of disproving evidence. This also includes when we persuade others to like our idea.
  • Hindsight makes us think things are more predictable than they are and results in overconfident heuristics and potential judgment errors, as well as Jurassic Park the Lost World, Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World.

Beyond these psychological cognitive bias, there can also be biochemical causes such as euphoria (Alcohol causes bad decisions – See my Don’t be Bridget! blog) and overconfidence common to group judgments.

Don’t fret.  Most people’s decisions are distorted by overconfidence. Luckily, overconfidence can be recognized and managed. Metaknowledge – or understanding the limits of our primary knowledge – can reduce our overconfidence errors by demonstrating our limits of knowledge and, more importantly, the limits of our statistical confidence (Don’t worry, I’m a recovered engineer and I am not going to bore you with regression analysis or probability ranges.)

So how do you improve your metaknowledge? How do you determine how little you really know? Feedback and accountability improves your level of metaknowledge.

Here are 6 Cures for overconfidence bias:

  1. Awareness. Being aware that overconfidence may skew judgments is the first step in improving metaknowledge.
  2. Seek feedback. Obtaining and addressing the quality of past decisions will help correct future overconfidence and overestimation errors.
  3. Counterarguments. Play Devil’s Advocate and look for disaffirming points. Be Dr. Ian Malcolm!
  4. Alternatives.  Run rabbit holes to dead ends to explore all options.
  5. Scenarios. Trouble shoot all the ‘what if’ questions.  Ask questions and collect information.
  6. DATA!  Collect and analyze data. Data doesn’t lie.  However, avoid applying causal relationships that may not exist.


Don’t get blindsided.

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