Confidence + Doubt = 1

Alternate title: Don’t Believe in Yourself

I’ve been trying to put together a post on confidence for several weeks now, but it never seemed complete. I think it was because I never identified its opposite: doubt.

So what is confidence? It’s belief about the certainty of something, based on truth. For instance, if you had never missed a free throw in your life, there would be no reason to believe that the next one you shoot wouldn’t go in. But after you miss one, you may start to doubt.

Confidence + Doubt = 1

Therefore, the higher your confidence in something, the lower your doubt. But the more often you perceive a negative outcome, the more you doubt, and the lower your confidence.

How can you be confident in something when you aren’t very good at it? Knowing exactly where you stand. If your confidence is based on truth, then your expectations of future outcomes would be correct. If I can only make 8 out of 10 free throws in practice, why would I expect more than that of myself in the game? There is no reason to doubt.

But if I slump in a game or in practice, I may start to lose confidence. Or doubt. And as my confidence weens, my doubt grows. 

So how do you overcome doubt and start to believe in yourself again? Practice. It’s the only way. There’s no reason to believe that you’re any better than you are right now. And practice is the only way to get better and to improve the chance of future positive outcomes. Therefore, as you see your stats improve in practice, you can start to expect more out of yourself in real games.

How does this impact my beliefs? If you have an honest view of where you stand and true self-confidence, you know that there is always going to be someone better than you, in any scenario. That should give you enough reason to doubt yourself in almost any situation. So how do you build confidence? Believe in something truer than yourself.

Start with the Bible. What’s true is always true. It doesn’t matter how many times you miss in a row, it’s still true. There’s no slump, no doubting. It doesn’t change, because it is the Truth. And you see, if all outcomes are true, confidence stays at 1. There is no room for doubt. So don’t believe in yourself. Believe in something bigger. 

My Quantum Life: Using Beliefs to Limit Outcomes

We’ve talked about how morals help us gain certainty about the future. They help us narrow our path and gain clarity.

If I look at my life as a set of infinite possible outcomes, how do I limit them? Morals for one. Beliefs for another. If I know what I believe, I can start to accurately predict future outcomes.

If you look at now, and where you think you’ll be in 24-hours, it’s helpful. Because of the last post, you probably won’t be divorced, or gay. You probably won’t be climbing Everest naked. But how do you know for sure? Because you know the logic that runs your mind. To make it to Mount Everest, you would have to make a series of decisions to get there. Decisions that you’ve never made before. And to make decisions that you’ve never made before, you need a reason. And it’s hard to imagine a change in logic drastic enough to take you from the beach to mount Everest in 24-hours.

If you dislike something, there are many fewer instances of it in your future. It’s pretty simple, if you dislike coffee, you have no reason to drink it. Unless you read an article that changes your mind about it. Or your doctor tells you that you should start drinking it.

How do we measure the importance of realities? Obviously, the decision of whether to eat breakfast or not is not as important as whether or not to run out in traffic.

The importance of the decision determines how much weight we give to it. It also determines how much stress we derive from it. The distance in quantum space of the two results [that you’re weighing] determines the level of stress over that decision. Our beliefs set our priorities which determines this stress. We can say that we value family above all else, but if the decisions we make don’t mirror that, it’s not true. 

We determine the value of one decision by weighing it against our priorities. When we look at future realities, to determine the probability we have to look at the decisions that got us to that point, and the weight of those decisions.

If scenarios involve changing your mind, your beliefs, or having a gun to your head, or having the President call to motivate you, that are exceedingly unlikely. If my current truth remains, the likelihood of these events is zero. Because they would involve changing that truth. 

If you’re spending your life in prison, there are no realities where you are free. Ok. There are a couple: you escape, the prison is destroyed, etc. There are some very slim possibilities, but not enough to base your life around. That’s why it’s so scary: all future realities involve you there. There is no reason to dream anymore, not about this life.

No one wants to go to prison. But there are infinite ways that you could go to prison today. If you believe in abiding by the law, you are more than likely safe. Unless the law changes or someone changes your mind about the law.

Here’s the trick: the only outcomes that are actually possible have decisions paths based on beliefs that are all true. If it takes one false to get to that point, it’s an impossibility. Therefore, our path is still infinite, but it’s infinitely narrower because of our beliefs. The more conditional our belief system, the more likely a true can become a false, and the path of potential realities widens.

The width of the path is based only on “both true” scenarios. For instance, whether to go to the grocery now or later. Neither is morally wrong, but you still must make a choice. That’s when your priorities come into play. While they are still based on what you believe, they are how we categorize and rank these “both true” scenarios. You set your priorities whether you believe it or not. So at this point you weigh your options based on your priorities.

So how does faith apply here? First, it gives us the guidance to have moral absolutes. It helps us to walk a straighter path. Second, you have to remember that there are literally infinite ways you could die today. That’s a scary thought. But if you believe that death is not the end, that it’s actually a gateway to a better life.

Therefore, we take the worst possible outcome and replace it with a positive one, a very positive one. Our beliefs hone our potential future into only scenarios that are all true. Our faith transforms the most negative outcomes into gains. If you take away death, the expected value of the system skyrockets. There is literally nothing left to fear.

Carl Jung on Faith and Addiction

Optional reading: I Am an Addict, Applying Faith to Addiction, Void Avoidance

We’ve applied our concept of faith to addiction. But I’m not important. Carl Jung founded analytical psychology. He did all kinds of important work in psychology, philosophy, and other fields. He also worked with Freud to establish the field of psychoanalysis. Straight from Wikipedia:

Jung recommended spirituality as a cure for alcoholism, and he is considered to have had an indirect role in establishing Alcoholics Anonymous. Jung once treated an American patient (Rowland Hazard III), suffering from chronic alcoholism. After working with the patient for some time and achieving no significant progress, Jung told the man that his alcoholic condition was near to hopeless, save only the possibility of a spiritual experience. Jung noted that, occasionally, such experiences had been known to reform alcoholics when all other options had failed.

His work was later used to form the basis of Alcoholics Anonymous. He knew what he was talking about. And he said that religion was sometimes the only cure.


Walk by Faith

Walk by faith and not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

For shorthand, let’s define sight as imagining future realities

This would mean to continue on your path by your belief based on knowledge and truth, not by what you imagine about the future. Hopes and fears would both require seeing in this capacity, where you look forward to either a good or bad event.

Faith would be based on truth, while sight is just looking at potential outcomes.

But if our goal is truth, seeing is not how we live the truest lives. If we walk by sight, we are constantly imaging future realities which may or may not be true.

Remember: The truest sight is the present. We can’t be present if we’re worrying about tomorrow or dreaming about what’s next.



Applying Faith to Addiction

Preliminary Reading: I am an Addict

We discussed the nature of addiction in previous posts. The question becomes, is it healthy to be addicted to anything?

As humans, we have needs, but what do we use to fill the inescapable void?

The answer is something that can always be with us, but something that can grow our whole lives without making us unhealthy. We need something that the more we have, the better we get.

But if those things are true, we can’t really be addicted to it. If it can become a part of you, there is no longer an expectation. If now we desire God to be with us all the time, he can do that. He’s been there anyways. So instead of expectation, you’re left with more love than you even asked for. We are forever indebted to somebody that we can never fully repay. We are only asked to love our neighbors as ourselves. And we now know what a huge call to action that is.


Turning Grief into Love

Preliminary Reading: Defining Love and Applying Love to Forever

Grief is when you lose something you love. If love is defined as imagining all future realities with someone, grief would be losing something that you never imagined being apart from. Not because you expected your mother to always live for example, but because the positive parts of her will never be there again for you. So something that you had imagine all future realities including, is now gone. You have a void that will never be filled, depending on what you believe.

If you believe in the afterlife, you could hope to see them again. There would be at least one potential realty where you got to see them again. If you believe that they were going to the same afterlife as you, all potential outcomes involved the two of you together again, so grief becomes hope, becomes faith. And if you have faith that you will spend eternity with this person, you can still love them.

Reality, Truth, and Faith

Reality is now. It’s everything, everywhere, every thought, emotion, or action happening at this moment in time.

Truth is a quality that something is in (or has been in) the set of reality. Anything that is true is part of reality. Anything that is false is not. Truth includes the past and present. The future is only a fear, hope, or expectation, unless you have the gift of prophecy. The future is Shrodinger’s cat. It’s both true and false at the same time, until it happens.

Faith is belief. I have faith that you will ace your test. That means that I believe that you will ace your test. But not out of pure luck, because I know that you know the material. So you cannot have faith in something that you do not believe to be true. Faith is based on knowledge. If what you know rules out said thing from being possibly true, it’s impossible to have faith in that thing. If you are terrible at math and didn’t study or do any homework, how can I have faith that you will do well on your test? I can’t. Faith does not exist outside of truth.

For instance, if you think that science is true, and you think that faith is a set of things that are also true, but that are outside the set of science, that’s not possibly the case. Two things that contradict each other could not possibly be true at the same time. It’s like saying I am wearing a yellow jacket that is red. I believe that if we unravel the shortcomings of science, we could see a happy marriage of faith and science. With the jacket comparison, I’d be wearing a yellow jacket with red stripes.