Tag Archives: psychology

Finding a way to win

We sacrifice truth for coherence, and our desire for an orderly world causes us to overlook the importance of luck. Our brain looks for patterns, even when there are none, and so we make up explanations for random events. For example, I love it when sports announcers proclaim that some teams just “find a way to win.”

Imagine a tournament like the “March Madness” college basketball tournament that begins with 64 teams. Our tournament is unique in that each team is represented as a coin. When two coins “play” each other, they are flipped together until one coin comes up heads and the other tails, and the coin that comes up heads wins. After the first round, there would be 32 teams left, then 16, then 4, then 2, and finally a winner.

The winner!

The winner!

Sports announcers watching this tournament would certainly declare that the winning coin, a plucky 1946 nickle, just knows how to fight through adversity and “finds a way to win.”

That nickel really came to play. I give credit to the coaching.