What the turkey didn’t suspect… (PAWEL MOTYL)

What the turkey didn’t suspect… (PAWEL MOTYL)

Once upon a time, there was a turkey living the good life on a farm. He passed his days in blissful peace, each day as lovely as the one before. Three times a day a nice farmworker brought him a bucket of feed, which the turkey gobbled down in ever- greater quantities. His pen was cleaned regularly. Time drifted by, 50 days, 100 days, 150 days, then 200 days. Every day the same: feeding and cleaning. If we’d asked that tur- key to comment on life on that 200th day, he would have been full of positivity. This is the life! And if we’d asked him what the 201st was going to look like, he would  have been puzzled: What else could it look like? The same as before! Three meals a day and a clean pen. Sadly, the turkey didn’t know that Thanks- giving was just around the corner and that on day 201 he would be meeting the first and last black swan in his life—something he was unable to predict based on his previous experience and for which he couldn’t prepare.


Here’s the bad news: We’re no different to the turkey. We have a tendency to extrapolate positive trends. If something has developed over a reasonably long period in a predictable and ordered fashion, we subconsciously assume that it will continue that way. This is a trap that our cognitive system sets for us. It affects the way we absorb and process information from our environment, and then draw conclusions based on that information. We are particularly susceptible to positive trends because it’s comforting to assume (consciously or not) that our current successes will follow us into the future. This assumption is typically accompanied by our ignoring important signals from the world around us that the trend is about to change—just like the turkey, who, after 200 days of pampering, failed to notice that the farmer was sharp- ening his knife. 





Labyrinth: The Art of Decision-Making

Pawel Motyl


Image A: https://www.vectorstock.com/royalty-free-vector/flat-style-of-turkey-vector-13611507

Image B: https://gordonclarkphotography.com/




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