Random Thoughts

Confidence interval

I have a little rule in my life. I call it the “plus or minus one rule,” and it goes like this: if things are not going well, take one more step forward; if things cannot seem to go wrong, take one step back.

 

The first part is easy because it is fairly logical. If things are not working out, you usually need to do something… something more or less of something same or different, but something. Some action must be taken if you want to correct the course you are taking, so you broaden your view to explore all possibilities. And when that something is the right one done in the right way, you will see results to your liking – things get better.

 

It is the second part that is much harder because it is counterintuitive. If things are happening exactly the way you want them to, why not do more of the exact same things? If you are on a roll, why should you not ante up and get more out of the game?

 

Well, maybe because you get less cautious and more reckless, not being able to uncover and assess properly all the risks that may lie ahead.

Maybe you get too greedy and narrow-minded, and begin to pursue only your benefits at the cost of others.

Maybe you get out of control and lose sight of your goals, and become inconsistent with and contradictory to yourself.

 

Then it would not matter how much you do the things that were once working for you, because none of them will align with your course of action any more. And because you have invested more, you will have less left to go on when you finally come to the realization that things are not going well. So, I make myself pull one step back while things are going well to avoid going down this path.

 

In statistics, the plus-or-minus sign commonly indicates the range of values within which the occurrence of a given incidence will most probably fall. This range is also called “confidence interval,” i.e., the interval within which you are confident you will be able to observe the incidence occur.

 

My “plus or minus one rule” is my confidence interval.

Maybe within it I have confidence that I can maintain by and large a coherent me.

Maybe within it I gain others’ confidence in the person that I am, on the whole.

Maybe within it I keep myself in confidence, hidden away from as much ups and downs life throws at me as possible.

 

Maybe within it lies my confidence that things will go more or less well for me, and I will be able to ride all the highs and lows I face.

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