Tag Archives: life

The Fallacy of Composition

Last block, I took ‘managerial economics’, which was my last core class.  Even though I was an econ major for my undergrad, it was still pretty challenging.  One of the topics my professor briefly mentioned was called ‘the fallacy of composition’, which means that a solution for one individual does not necessarily work for a whole group.  Though he didn’t go into a lot of detail, I found this idea really interesting.

This logical fallacy applies to a lot of things.  For example, some might claim that we need to pay down the national debt at the same time, while others might worry that this effort would depress the economy and cause inflation.  Others might say that Obama’s proposal to provide free community college education to all Americans might increase opportunities in some areas, but create a higher unemployment rate due to a lack of high-skill jobs in another.  In one case, it might make sense to localize control of the public school curriculum, and in another, a school could fall behind due to a lack of standards to guide a child’s development.

I am really lucky to be in a field where I am literally paid to ponder the pros and cons to every decision.  Finding solutions to problems in data is my passion, and I have always been a numbers person.  But the kind of mental processing to which most people are accustomed is merely linear thinking.  By this, I mean assuming a direct connection between one thing and another.  When we are faced with a problem we don’t understand, we tend to take a mechanistic view to identifying a solution, breaking the problem down to its individual parts and assuming that every effect has a single cause.  I think this type of rationale is valid, but not complete.

In order to truly facilitate a better world, I think it will be necessary for more people to adopt a synthetic, non-linear way of thinking.  Before any course of action, more considerations need to be made about external effects.  This is bigger than conventional game theory.  It’s definitely not easy to understand that affecting one part could actually affect the system as a whole.  This goes against everything that dictates how I do my work: you must think hard about the potential effects that can come out of a decision, even when you don’t have the data to support it.  This capacity to predict effects beyond what you are directly affecting is difficult to master, but I think will likely be the key to addressing challenges over time.  Unilateral decisions are not going to fix global warming, poverty, income disparity, or public health issues.

Systemic change is not going to happen overnight, but I hope I live to see some kind of progress in my lifetime.  Relying on numbers and statistics is important, but not as important as deeply considering the chain of events that can occur from making one choice compared to another.  When making a decision about the best remedy for the most pressing social ills, be sure to take a step back and effectively consider how others will be affected.  We need to come up with structures for thought instead of building thoughtless structures.  We need to let go of our experiences that turned us into conditioned humans instead of letting ourselves represent the human condition we once were as children.  When we were small, we found joy in bringing others happiness, and as we ‘matured’ and were burned a few times, we became more selfish and defensive.  The more people who come to master this difficult way of thinking, the better off this world will be.  We have become less alive.

I am not at all saying that I have never taken stances on issues that were self-serving.  I know I have hurt people and made mistakes.  But I think that creating a better future starts with me, hopefully inspiring others to share the same attitude.  The more we look out for each other, and the less afraid we become about making changes in our lives in order to benefit others, the more better off we all will become.  Individuals can make a difference everyday by letting go of judgment, hatred, and anger – things that all prevent us from living a full life.  Don’t get caught up in the fallacy of composition or in the numbers.  They’re a great place to start, but what’s truly important will be justified by something more.

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Typical New Years Reflection Post

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This post I made in July, 4 days before my birthday (the most painful day of the year for me), sums up my 2013.  Everyone knows I’m such a worrywart, and I always freak out like the sky is falling, but I truly went through more stress, personal drama, and difficult changes this year than I’ve ever had to deal with before; I felt like my world fell apart multiple times last year.  But in the end, I ended up gaining so much more.  With every loss I suffered, I gained an even more valuable blessing in its place, bringing me another step closer to where I want to be.  I have so many reasons to be happy, and I’m truly so grateful for everything I have.

I went into 2013 just hoping that I would continue to grow.  While I definitely learned so many things about life, love, and the art of happiness, the moments that were most impactful include both the times I felt I hit rock bottom and the best of times.  I will probably never be 100% satisfied with my job, and there will always be times when I feel frustrated, overworked and undervalued… But I am always grateful for every raise and every email from a client praising me for my work with my boss CC’d.  I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had at Cicero that have enabled me to build such a marketable skill set that will allow me to be a strong and valuable asset for my next company.  And though my DWI is a huge, expensive pain in the ass and waste of time, I’m lucky to have such amazing people in my life who didn’t judge me because of it, and helped me understand that it may have actually saved my life.  Also, on a less significant level, I felt so grown up when I finally replaced my 240 with a beautiful Lexus, haha :).

And while I went through the biggest heartbreak I’ve ever suffered this year, I ended up capturing the interest of someone I have always been attracted to, but never even thought was attainable.  When we started dating, I had to make a conscious effort to stop myself from falling because it was just too good to be true.  But it’s been so easy to trust him over time, and for me to see more ways in which we match.  Conversation just flows naturally between us, not only because we share similar interests, but also because we both love having engaging discussions and keeping our minds stimulated.  I admire his passion for the things he loves and the people he looks up to.  He works hard in everything he does, and is enthusiastic about succeeding and continuously improving himself.  There hasn’t been a single day that’s gone by since we’ve been dating that he hasn’t told me that I’m beautiful…  Not to mention that he has Brad Pitt’s face and Jesus’s abs.  He’s perfect.  This kind of amazing shit only happens in movies, I swear… Brian is my greatest gift of 2013.

There is one thing that stayed constant, though – in spite of all the mistakes I made this year, I never lost the support and love of my family. I could never feel lost knowing they’ll always be there for me no matter what.  I am so lucky to have been blessed with such a wonderful family.

In a nutshell, I wouldn’t have had 2013 go any other way.  I suffered losses, and made costly mistakes, but in the end, I would re-live it all over again just to be in this very moment, writing this post while taking a break from my segmentation report, with the sound of my family doing fireworks in the background and my puppy sitting in my lap.  I truly have so much to be grateful for, and I have been armed with so much potential to achieve anything I set my mind to.  These challenges I faced this year have only given me perspective that has strengthened my ability to love and show compassion to others.  2014 is MY year – the year of the horse.  I can’t wait to see what the future brings, because it just keeps getting better and better.

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The Art of Happiness

This year has been so impactful on my overall outlook on life, understanding of love, & definition of success.

One of the things I wish I could change about myself is how I’m constantly over analyzing and trying to make sense of things. I wish I could just roll with the punches, take things one step at a time, and be happy with what I have. Instead, I’m always trying to think in the long-term, yet a lot of the choices I end up making yield short-term returns.

I’m good at a lot of things, but one of the things I’m really bad at is taking charge of my own happiness. I think it’s because finding happiness isn’t a skill – it’s an art. It takes real creativity to see the beauty in everything and to realize the positive side to any situation. If everyone thought logically, no one would be completely content. We are all going to have goals – even once you reach a certain point, you’ll still want more. There will always be something missing. The important part is that you realize where you’ve been and how far you’ve come. Being happy is a choice, not something that comes naturally.

The other day, a friend of mine told me something really sweet.  She said:

“Gosh Kat, you’ve worked hard as long as I’ve known you, and now you have the perfect life.  I’m so glad to see that you have a sexy, well-paying job, good relationships with your friends, and now you have the perfect boyfriend – you have everything you’ve always wanted.  You inspire me to get my act together and work toward my dreams.”

This felt really good to hear.

But while I know I am in a great place, and I have a lot to be thankful for, my life is not a fairy tale.  I may project it to be perfect, but it isn’t, because I’m not perfect either.  I’ve made plenty of selfish mistakes, hurt dozens of people, and spend a good two minutes every single day regretting some things I can no longer change – and it’s probably safe to say that I’m still paying the price for those decisions.  I just don’t share how broken I truly am because I think it’s important to always stay as positive as you can be.

Behind everyone’s success story is an equally unglamorous one.  Nothing in this world is free – the most rewarding aspects of life require lots of hard work, discipline and commitment.  The two people in a happy couple went through a lot of struggle, past failed relationships, and heartbreak to get to the point of stability and understanding where they are.  An athlete may have been born with natural talent, but also needed to make a lot of sacrifices in order to train to the level of skill they are now.  The CEO of a prosperous company could have possibly led multiple failed start-ups before finally creating something that could compete in the market.

My point is, life is life.  Realize that some people get dealt better cards than others in this game of life, but ultimately it still takes a lot of strategy, skill, and commitment to facilitate the best outcome for yourself.  You’ll have to make trade-offs and give up a lot of things you love, but just keep telling yourself that in the end it’ll be worth it.  You’ll make decisions that you’ll regret, but it’s important to accept that what’s done is done, and move on.  You’ll have times when you feel like a complete failure, but you also have to realize your self-worth and look at how much you have accomplished.

I think the people who are successful and happy are the ones who are just as proud of their accomplishments as they are of surviving hell and back to get there.  It’s important to stay humble, and remember where you came from – everyone is working as hard as you are to create their happy ending, and the degree to which you are able to accomplish your goals depends on your personal drive combined with your family and friends who make up your support system, and sometimes just pure luck.  Opportunities don’t always just fall into your lap, but when they do, don’t take them for granted.

Consistent with all my other posts, my thoughts are all over the place…  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m thankful for every aspect of my life.  I wouldn’t undo any of the mistakes I’ve made over the last couple of years, and I wouldn’t take back any of the challenging times when I felt defeated, because if none of it happened, I wouldn’t be where I am today.  But I also wouldn’t wish the pain I felt on anyone else… Some people, like myself, just need to learn everything the hard way.

And at this point, I think I’m the best person I ever was because of it all.  I’m still working toward building my own happily ever after – I may not deserve it yet, and it’ll take me a lot more work to achieve than all the other good people out there.  But I’ll get there, because I know I’m capable of getting anything I want.  I think that’s something to be proud of. 🙂

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Moving On

When faced with a tough decision,

sometimes it’s better just to ignore your heart,

trust your intuition,

make a decision, stick with it,

and don’t look back.

There’s no reason to waste time sulking about it.

Don’t ask questions, don’t ponder “what-if’s.”

Don’t wonder about what could have been…

The best thing you can do now is move on and press forward

and be thankful –

Thankful for the things that are going right,

but even more thankful for the things that are challenging

because this is how we grow and become better people.

And of course, don’t forget to pray.

What is meant to be, will be. 🙂

“Good things fall apart so that great things can come together.”

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Cake.

If you take the first letters of my little group of girlfriends’ names – Candice, Aly, Kat & Estée – it spells “Cake.” When I was in DC, I missed my girlfriends so badly, and the acronym our names spelled is something I thought of when I was intoxicated by the overpriced liquor I was spoiling myself with while I was out there.

Yesterday, we finally had a chance to grab pho for lunch. It was nice, because we really hardly ever get to see each other all together with our conflicting schedules, boyfriends and other business.

Estée is in nursing school full-time and also works two 16-hour shifts per week. Candice is finishing up her bachelors degree in MIS up at the U of U and working as well. Aly is the youngest, and pursuing a degree in biotechnology at SLCC and also helping out at her family’s coffee shop. And I’ve already gone on and on about my 60-hour work week, LSAT preparation & “gym-flow,” as they call it, so I won’t reiterate that again. All our schedules overlap and we’re lucky when we even receive each others’ texts.

My group of girls has grown and shrunk over the years, but these girls have always been there. It’s really sad, but I think it’s a damn fact that girls can’t get along, so I’ve been lucky to have had these three be there for me through it all. Since I was so busy and overwhelmed with the changes, I didn’t keep in touch with a lot of people while I was in DC, including these girls, but they didn’t treat me any differently when I got back. It’s nice to have friends who you can trust with your secrets and not judge you for them, but it’s better to have had them experience those crazy moments and make those mistakes with you so you could look back and laugh at them. It’s nice to have friends who will build you up when you feel insecure or stressed out about something, but it’s even better to have friends who will work with you and help you through the problem you’re having. It’s nice to have friends who will respect that you have work in the morning and not drag you out to the club, but I’d rather have friends who peer pressure you to come out, have a great time and drink until you’re unconscious. We’re enjoying our youth but we still have our priorities and heads on straight. That’s the type of friendship we have, and I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

I owe a lot to these girls for loving me unconditionally even though I can be annoying sometimes. For being honest with me even when I can’t be honest with myself. For helping me become a better person when I start to go off on the wrong track. They’re the type of girls you plan to ask to be your bridesmaids and who you want to be “aunties” to your future baby. They really are great girls, and I can see us all doing great things – I can’t wait to see what happens when we run this bitch someday.

 

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