Monday, February 10, 2014

Sensationalizing Current Data

Talking to a friend recently who was feeling down about their life I was struck again by our inadvertent penchant to sensationalize current data while forgetting everything else. The climate change debate is a perfect example of people flying off the handle as soon as something like the "polar vortex" hits dumping winter anarchy over the south. "Yeah so much for global warming Al Gore" and other epithets begin circling the internet. 

As I've said before, I'm not a scientist and am not taking a side on the issue with this post, but what I will say unequivically is that humans over react with little thought to the greater picture. This leads to hasty judgements that are in many cases untrue. If you could plot a graph of the earth's temperature over it's entire history, I'm fairly certain it wouldn't be far from a straight line upwards but would look more like the Rocky Mountains. 

For my friend I related this concept to personal life in a slight spin on my Swings and Roundabouts post. When my life feels shitty I try to step back and look at the greater picture - reexamine my past for context. I'm not the same person I was 3 months or 5 years ago. The data points of my life have been peaked and vallied but the over all conclusion is that I have moved significantly from the baseline. Yes it's swings and roundabouts but if you don't stop moving forward, it won't be a wash but forward progress instead. Dripping water doesn't erode a stone overnight. The progression is virtually indistinct unless you have various samples to compare to over time. If you feel like you are stuck or failing, step back, get out of your head and picture your life like a time line on a graph. Hopefully you will see it like a promising stock - trending upwards. 

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