The survivorship bias and the error is recovered

We humans are prone to imitation and copying. In childhood it is necessary for us to survive. But when we Mature, mechanical copying is more often an obstacle than a path to success and to health. Indeed, while we do not use our adult part of the brain – prefrontal cortex.

In this article I will talk about the survivorship bias and its social and medical consequences. In the medical aspect will call this the error is recovered.

Simply put, survivorship bias is the tendency to focus on survivors (recovered) and not at the victims, depending on the situation.

Below I will give several examples to illustrate the so-called "survivorship bias" (survivorship bias) is a compilation of data only on the basis of successful results.

Reading success stories and other people's successes, illnesses and recovery, we infected different emotions – from jealousy and anger to optimism and inspiration. But it's a waste of mental strength. After all, a story about someone else's success is worthless without data on how many people have suffered in the same way bad.


Diagor and shipwreckedMore than two thousand years ago, the Roman orator, belletrist, thinker, stoic, politician, manipulator and (almost always) a noble gentleman Marcus Tullius Cicero in his treatise "On the nature of the gods" told a story. The Greek philosopher Diagorou, surnamed the Atheist, showed images of people who prayed to the gods, and escaped the shipwreck. The implication was that prayer that saves from death. Diagor asked: "where are the images of those who prayed, but still drowned?" The pious dead are not so easy to Express your opinion on the seabed for the reason that they are dead. As a result, a casual observer could easily believe in miracles.

There is an old legend that dolphins save people by pushing them toward the coast. And really there are such cases. But there is a reasonable opinion that the dolphins just a game, sending a sinking randomly in direction, but those who were pushing from the shore to tell about it can not.

The holes in the plane isa Textbook example from the history of the world: as a mathematician of Romanian origin Abraham Wald helped the pilots of American bombers more often to return to base alive.

The losses of the bombers were disastrous – one good hit could turn an engineering marvel into a mass grave. But to give light weight bomber armor could not indefinitely – because they still had bombs to carry. Therefore, it was necessary to choose. Watching returning to base riddled with bullets, bombers, army authorities decided that the need to strengthen those parts of the body that most resembled a colander: the wings, the lower part of the body and the tail section near the rifle turret – it is obvious that they got often.

But Wald drew the attention of the command that the real threat is not the damage that the planes returning home, and those who destroyed them and who, therefore, study was impossible. If the bullet hole in the wing the plane can fly – you need to watch where the hole is not – perhaps because there was not hit, the crew will be able to come back alive.

Coin is the Most popular famous psychic Derren brown predicted that flip a coin 10 times and all ten times it comes up heads. All the United Kingdom dropped my jaw in front of the TV. No one could understand how it happened. Very simple: it is nine hours filmed on camera how can turn on a dime, until he finally threw ten eagles in a row. The rest he cut out and shown on TV only a successful double.

 Success stories According to this principle works a whole industry of books "10 secrets of success from the founder of the company XXX", the whole industry on weight loss, fitness programs and much more. We show only the tip of the iceberg, a small percentage of those who "survived."

According to the psychologist Daniel Kahneman in his book "Thinking fast and slow": "If a stupid decision led to success, then it is remembered as a genius". All actions of companies like Microsoft or Google or Apple that we see is how the bullet holes on the wings. No one remembers those who fell on enemy ground, getting too serious damage.

What's wrong with these stories? Yes, indeed, the case of unjustified selection. Thinking about success in any case, it seems logical to pay attention to those who have it all, to find in their actions, the reasons for the success and voila — get a working circuit for achieving success in this area! So, Yes not so. From the selection drop people who have done the same and failed. It's disappointing, boring (and sold poorly), but nevertheless, it is. Behind every success story is hidden a series of failures of other people who failed to become kings of the mountains – usually biographies of the winners squeamish spare you the details, implying that losers have no reason to be interested in. But only as long as you do not be a episode of someone else's success story.

It happens to us every day, but few people make conclusions from this. Fascination with other people's success stories is dangerous: you will either spend time on the implementation of others bad advice or fall into the trap of the illusion that your mistakes really is the road to success.

Cause of low practical use of all these interviews with "successful people" is that they consider only one side of the coin. Selecting the winners, which is only a few percent of the total weight tried, one might get the impression that students today almost without exception become successful bloggers and business that students with $20 in his pocket as one starting their projects that a few years to become a multimillion-dollar holdings, and the Housewives, once you know about the Chinese online stores, now almost at the same time launch a network of women's and children's clothing — one more successful than another.

But if you ask those who went bankrupt or took off, and there will also be words about the diligence, a great idea, an important mission and so on. Why aren't we listening to them? Why do we want to hear the story of a soldier who ran through a minefield, rescued from a burning house cat and became a General, but don't want to hear stories about the less fortunate and the more common cases that have ended much more tragic?

 Will the guru (mentor, coach, athlete)? Mentors, teachers, friends — we look to them to teach the new, told how they managed to achieve what we want to achieve for yourself. Losers have no one of the Council asks, plugging their hackneyed "first bring". It seems quite logical that to ask about how to achieve anything, you need the person who did it to himself. But not so obvious as we would like.

Asking the programmer how he got his first job, we hear, plus or minus the standard history: read books, passed the same time, I talked to my friend/teacher, sent a resume, the interview took place. Each item will be disassembled as far as possible in detail, as if from read a newbie "Thinking in Java" or not read, it depends, he will find work or not. Like due to the fact that it will be tutorials on Lynda, but not on Coursera, he will be invited or not invited for an interview. And like with any programming language it started, depends on whether it will be in the end a programmer.

If you ask about his journey of a businessman, he also said something that we all have repeatedly heard about how he had an idea how he weighed the "pros" and "cons" and how, despite all the doubt and dissuasion of others, decided to quit his job, take a loan, open OOO and go to town. Scrupulous interviewers, in an attempt to find the Golden pill, will climb into the liver and attempt to extract even more detail — be it commitment, belief, or diligence.

If your guru, coach, mentor strictly imposes you a way to achieve the goal and helps you increase your personal resources, be on the lookout! Probably you are pushing to the "survivorship bias". Yes, people might have something to achieve. But what he did may not have to do with his success. On the contrary, he can achieve anything in spite of, not because of his actions.

In ancient times their role was played by the mythical "philosopher's stone" and "elixir of eternal youth". An alchemist in the seventeenth century, trying to get the elixir of the bargain the soldier's urine, accidentally discovered phosphorus. Absolutely all the benefits, and sold only through the Internet and only prepaid. You may remember (and if you don't remember squinted to the left and read.) This is the infamous "total subordination of the woman", "battle", "the secret to increase breast size by 2", "the secret way to build muscles" and stuff like that. In practice, all these statements are complete nonsense.

So hi to anyone looking for a "technique", "unique recipe" or superpill. When they find this pill, you will find that it is very simple — you just have to do more/better/more efficiently (write his). This, perhaps, and all. And how strange it turns out — some work hard and nothing special in their life doesn't change. Other, working as hard, get rich and go bankrupt. Others, like especially not bothered, skolachivaya solid capital and stating that "if you found your business, you not have to work day". In short, any system no. Harder/better/more efficient doesn't mean your blows that you will give the main role in the film, or that you will notice investors. These qualities are necessary but not sufficient condition.

If you need advice, ask what you can't do that slips out of sight and don't expect to find such information in quotes and lush biographies of people. They may have no idea that they were lucky or how lucky they are. Neither you nor they can't see what happens to them more bad and good, but they linger on the Sunny side of my life more often. They are open to what will happen to them a good match, while they currently live and go about their business, you could try to do the same right now, without any motivating pictures. Keep in mind that people have failed before me, I rarely ask for advice on how such failures be avoided, which, of course, very sad. Contrary to popular belief, success comes down to regularly to avoid catastrophic failures and routine to cope with the small current turmoil. The big red pill and the error is recovered Tablets from all diseases is a long – standing dream of mankind. Doctors and scientists don't believe in miracles, and do not promise us creation of wonderful tablets in the near future. But there are those who think otherwise. However, to medicine these people have no relationship. These miracle pills and powders in colorful packs have become very popular. They advertise on radio and in Newspapers, they are sold in pharmacies and hands.

Hope for recovery is the main product that the distributors sell nutritional Supplements and other "cures." In a desperate situation of people clings to any straw. Because of these "miracle pills" that help "from all", many will lose their last money and health.

In this case, you can always find someone who solemnly assured that he was helped by some mushroom powder from cancer or grandmother sheptooha from infection. This is the typical error survivors. To take the experience of this man is impossible.

The fact that every illness is essentially two outputs. This improvement or deterioration, until his death. Even chronic diseases have periods of exacerbation and remitting. Therefore, applying any substance long enough, you will feel better, guaranteed. Or die. But if you die, then nobody can tell that it didn't work. Moreover, 90% of diseases are without treatment. For example, a runny nose or Bronica. Therefore, teas, poultices, homeopathy and other pseudo-methods work only for your entertainment. And people, confident in their efficient to commit a typical mistake of the survivors.

The more dangerous the action of "miracle pills", the more dead witnesses. No one sees dead rats, and therefore deadlier than the risk, the less it is obvious, because the victims are excluded from the number of witnesses. Than vrednosna exposure, the more difference between the surviving rats and their surroundings and the easier we believe in the healing effect. This discrepancy between the real (weakening) effect and visible (Wellness) is caused by one of two factors: a) the original physical inequality of individuals of the studied group; b) unevenness of irradiation at some stage. In the latter case, the unevenness depends on the degree of uncertainty inherent in the process. Deadlier than the risk, so it is inconspicuous

In fact, after learning about the successful opening of the N-th hypstercom cafe at the head of a cat or another unnamed startup futbolka of pocatalico, we are already looking into the past. Interviews that take at winners — it was like traveling in a time machine, but always ago. The world today is more unstable than ever. Every week things happen that define the uniqueness of the present moment. So all the time, only looking back, you risk and wait for a suitable day all his life, and he probably never will come.

The knowledge that "the student on his knees he built a business Empire", or "expelled from the University student had an internship at Google" not more valuable, than data on the maximum and minimum temperature in Kyiv 100 years ago. If someone have accomplished something — this is not a guarantee that if he could, to get at you. Though, because everyone has their own way. So, that was it, "we have what we have", and forward, through thorns, despite the success stories of those who are lucky.

Inevitable retribution for crime? Have you ever thought about what the Newspapers write only about the caught criminals? In "the new York times" there is no section in which I would write about the crimes remaining unpunished. The same applies to tax evasion, government corruption, prostitution, poisoning of wealthy spouses (with unknown substances that cannot be detected), and drug transport. I should add that our perception of the typical criminal, perhaps based on the traits inherent in is not the most intelligent of offenders who have not managed to avoid capture.


Other people's failures (experience dead witnesses) bear more information than successes. The losers of history — how people and ideas — like the pious dead in the water, do not leave behind autobiographies (it is desirable to stay alive). It is amazing that historians and other Humanities scholars who work with or should know about the existence of hidden evidence, don't even have a name for them (believe me, I was looking very hard). As for the journalists — damn them all to hell! — they multiply the error on an industrial scale.

In the cemetery of losers is full of brave people willing to risk, optimistic, that is, possessing the same qualities that our sample of millionaires. Perhaps, the level of skills they have is different, but actually separates these two camps are often one — good luck. Luck.

Since each story is accompanied by a detailed description, you can analyze the reasons for the failures of others in sufficient detail, as much as people allow themselves to be Frank. After all, we don't want to make the mistake that all who study other people's success stories, forgetting a history of failures – error survivors.

Sometimes from mistakes you can learn even more than from success stories. In fact the defeat and victory are two sides of the same coin. As said by Joseph Conrad: "do Not mistake the one who does nothing". And if you look at the people around, you begin to understand that suffering "defeats" only a very few — those who are doing something. Because in order to fall, you first need to take off.

That's why the history of the "losers" have no less weight than the stories of the lucky ones — they are essentially the same, only with different characters. But the question of their practical applicability remains open.


SUBSCRIBE to OUR youtube channel that allows you to watch online, download from YouTube free video about the recovery, the rejuvenation of man. Love for others and ourselves, as the feeling of high vibrations — an important factor in recovery — EN

Put LIKES and share with your FRIENDS!

Subscribe -


What to do? Just to be aware, relaxed, sensitive and attentive to changes. For 10 long years, Wiseman followed the lives of 400 subjects of different ages and professions. He found them through an ad in the Newspapers, in which he asked to contact him to those people who think of yourself as a spoiled child, or total losers. They kept a diary and ran the tests, and described the Wiseman his life in interviews and reports. In one study, Wiseman asked subjects to view a newspaper and count the number of illustrations in it. People who considered themselves losers, spent on this task for two minutes. People who considered themselves lucky assholes, took an average of a few seconds. On the second page of the newspaper, Wiseman had inserted a block of text in which huge bold letters was written: "Then do not consider there are 43 pictures." A little farther was inserted the second piece of text that said "Tell the Professor that saw me, and get 250$". People who considered themselves losers did not notice any of these messages. Weisman argued that what we call luck is actually just a pattern of action that combines the style perception and handling of events and people you encountered along the way. He noted that the "losers" too narrow a focus. They are obsessed with security and very disturbing: instead of splashing around like a Dolphin in a sea of random selection, they focus on controlling what is happening, looking for something specific. As a result, they profukivayut many opportunities, peacefully swimming by. "The lucky ones" constantly changing the course of their usual activities and look out for something new. Weisman noticed that people who considered themselves lucky and, in fact, demonstrated a big good luck for 10 years, often found himself in situations where anything could happen with greater probability. Thus, they increase their chance for success, what "losers" did. "The lucky ones" more tried, more often wrong, but if they were wrong, then quickly stood up, shook off and continued to try. In the end, all of them worked.
In his interview to the magazine "Skeptical of Inquierer" [Sceptical Inquirer] Wiseman compared this behavior with the harvest of apples in the garden. If we imagine that two types of people are given a basket and asked to collect as many apples, it turns out that "losers" are those who all the time goes in the same places and in the end, each time gaining less, and the "winners" — who never returned to the same place and their baskets are always full. In this metaphor under the apples is understood as life experience. If you imagine that a small amount of such experience leads to fame, fortune, wealth or any other kind of happiness, material or spiritual, it is easy to notice that luck is not so terrible as it at first seems. The key is to learn to handle it.

"The more they searched, the more they missed. Same with good fortune: unlucky people miss opportunity because they are not looking for them, and focused on something else. For a party they go in search of the perfect partner and miss the opportunity to find good friends. In the Newspapers they are looking for one specific job and do not notice a lot of other types of work. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and in the end they got what they were looking for." — Richard Wiseman for the magazine "Skeptical of Inquierer" [Sceptical Inquirer]. Also interesting: the Posture as a sign of SACRIFICE Dopamine and invisible drugs: haste, haste, restlessness, multitasking

Error survivors freezes your brain into a state of ignore, being where it is possible to imagine that the success of a common thing, and is more common than you may think. So you conclude that to attain success easier. Such a horribly inaccurate conclusion from the actual facts you get due to the fact that a tiny number of survivors you take for a significant portion of the total number of all started the race.published

Author: Andrey Blueskin


P. S. And remember, just changing your mind — together we change the world! ©



See also

New and interesting