Choice-Supportive Bias

Here is a baffling concept: Let’s say I play a game of Solitaire on my computer, but I lose.  The computer gives you the option to replay that exact game  with a deck of cards shuffled in exactly the same way as before.  I’ve tried the option once or twice but not anymore.  Know why?  Because if I choose that option I’ll lose again in exactly the same way as before.  Every time.  Without fail.  I’ll do everything I did before again and without realizing it end up back where I started.

The problem isn’t with the deck of cards.  More than 66% of shuffles are solvable.  I only average a 1/1 ratio.

The problem is that when I enter the next game I do not know what move would help me avoid my fate so I make the same set of decisions again.  After all, each and every one of them seemed sensible the first time.  Even though I know they don’t work, they still seem sensible the second time.

It’s a constant struggle with myself.  A part of my sub-conscious sees all past decisions as if they were better than they actually were.  It doesn’t just happen in cards.  I’ve noticed the same trends in my relationships.  My first two relationships were carbon-copies of each other — terrible in a dozen different ways and totally wrong for me.  I just took all of the mistakes I made in the first relationship — knowing full well they would lead to heartbreak — and made them again.

My next relationship, one in which I’m very happy, has nothing at all in common with the first two.

I wonder if I should take the same approach to my existential longings, my job search, my writing.  Just do the opposite of what you did before even if most of it worked and see what happens.  I don’t know if I can do that.  I’m a creature of habit who could get stuck playing the same game of Solitaire forever.

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