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  • Happiness in Handfulls

The COULD Be Era


The first time I saw COVID 19 spelled out was in an email back in January. I have not had cable since 2010 or I may have heard COVID pronounced first and it would have spoiled my realization. Instead of reading the V and the I, I read "COULD 19", my brain could not associate the letters with anything I have known before. The acronym at the time had zero meaning to me and my brain translated directly to me as:





"K, what COULD have you done better in 2019? What COULD have you been that you were not, where could you improve?"

"You COULD have done more teaching, more outreach to the people in your community, more this... more that... more of what impacts a single person"


Reflecting on this concept over the past 6 months, I wanted to share my short story with you in the possibility that it sparks livelihood, faith, and prosperity for you and the people around you. Maybe it sparks skeptism, too.


Typoglycemia and Brain Power

"Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe." -Davis, M. (2012), MRC: Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. Cambridge University.


You can still read that right? That is your brain working, piecing together the information available to you. In the above quote, the first and last letter of each word is correct, however the middle of each word is mixed and shuffled. With shorter pieces of information (e.g. the [the] or mess [mses]) the words are relatively easy to confirm due to the limited number of possible configuration of letters. By increasing the number of letters in the word (e.g. important [iprmoetnt]), we make the brain work harder but it is not impossible to read because of the context of the sentence. This is called typoglycemia.


Context Matters!

Imagine now that I did not provide you context. Would it be as easy to deduce the information from the word chaos?


the


pbloerm


wtih


ifmtinoaorn


trohey


When I see a data point without a comparison to a known standard, I feel that my brain cannot handle the information presented because there is no context for the information to be unscrambled, there is no key for what to expect, there is lack of predictability.


Information theory is often associated with information entropy, the lack of order or predictability, a variable that can be associated with any random variable in a system. The concept was introduced in 1948 by Claude Shannon and the most common teaching example of this concept is the random coin flip of 2 coins. The information entropy quantifies how "informative" or "surprising" the entire random variable is, averaged on all its possible outcomes, listed below.


Coin 1: heads + Coin 2: heads

Coin 1: heads + Coin 2: tails

Coin 1: tails + Coin 2: tails

Coin 1: tails + Coin 2: heads


For those math people like me... the number of outcomes = 2^N, where N=2 coins here (total = 4 outcomes). These examples can get increasingly more complex with the addition of factors (such as 3 or 4 coins), decreasingly complex with the implication of rules (e.g., order of coin flip does not matter). You can imagine if you have a 4 letter word the possible outcomes for which position each letter could possibly be in is much, much smaller than a 8 letter word. Another important consideration is this relationship is not linear, it is exponential. This means that as the amount of information doubles, the processing power required of our brains to sort out all possible outcomes is not double, but actually quadruple, octuple (or X-tuple)!


The COULD be Era

Information is everywhere, at your fingertips, outside your window, in and on every product you consume. Despite this time being incredibly different that our concept of what is "standard", we are collecting new data points for our perspective. Things that may have been taken for granted before will not be moving forward, other things that may be taken as innate may be at risk, and it is clear that quite a bit of information is scrambled without a legend. Our outlooks for what is important (our goals) may have changed, altered themselves, re-routed completely, and that is OK, preferred and selected by our brains behind the scenes.


Information alone is chaos, it is up to us to infer what the information means, responsibly translate it to others through models, graphs, metaphors, examples, use our skills to build and engineer what the world needs from us. But... easier said than done because we need our brains to be able to see through and translate the typoglycemia, the illusions, and the extra that may hold us back.


Everytime you see COVID, think what you COULD do, be. A constant replay of being better, lifting others up, finding new ways to be productive and social. It is never too late to be what you COULD have been. Because what you COULD have been is what you want to be, which you are fully capable of becoming. Welcome to the COULD be Era - where every outcome is possible, make it yours!!


Hppinases in Hdanllufs


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