January 2017

“Gambling: The sure way of getting nothing for something.”

-Wilson Mizner

 

TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about the gambler’s fallacy. When you flip a coin, the outcome (assuming a fair coin) is independent of the previous result. The gambler’s fallacy is the mistaken belief that, what happens more frequently in one time period, will happen less frequently in another time period.

“The gambler’s fallacy is the mistaken belief that, what happens more frequently in one time period, will happen less frequently in another time period.”

For example, someone flips a coin and it lands on heads five times in a row. What do you expect the next result to be? It’s still a 50% chance of heads or tails because, in situations where what is being observed is truly random, the previous result has no effect on the next result. The fallacy to think that the next coin flip will reveal tails, because the last five were heads, occurs by the appeal of this fallacy to the human mind which surmises that the next result “should” be different than the previous ones.

“In situations where what is being observed is truly random, the previous result has no effect on the next result.”

Why are we talking about this on today’s Sunday Surgical Scrub? The reason is this fallacy arises in varied situations and needs to be differentiated from the principle that, the best indicator of future performance is past performance. The significant difference between this key principle and the gambler’s fallacy is that the latter applies to random events while the former is best applied to the complex personal and professional strategies we employ.

For example, let’s take the situation of a job application. Let us take someone who has been turned down for five straight positions and has a sixth interview scheduled. He or she can take the approach that, “I’m bound to get one of these jobs sooner or later since I’ve been rejected so many times”. This is the gambler’s fallacy at work. Don’t see this as a random event in the same way a roulette spin is a random event. Our choices involve a multitude of inputs that we must process and then synthesize a coherent strategy from. The preferred adaptive approach would be to ask for feedback at the five rejections and look for common themes. Why are you not getting these jobs? Are there more qualified applicants? Is there a problem with your skill set? Do you have a bad reference? If you don’t seek this crucial information out, it will be difficult to break through and change the result. Contrast this with someone who pays attention to detail and seeks out positions that best suit his or her skill set. They may only get two or three interviews but, the chance of successful conversion, will be higher.

“Our choices involve a multitude of inputs that we must process and then synthesize a coherent strategy from. They are not random events in the same way a roulette spin is a random event.”

“Casino gambling is colorful and dramatic and theatrical” (Steve Wynn). Leave gambling to the theatrics of the casino. Don’t gamble with the decisions we ponder and pontificate on. Avoid the gambler’s fallacy in random events and, when it comes to choices and crossroads, use the power of analysis to maximize your performance and achieve the objectives you seek. Don’t ever leave these to chance.

 

MEDICINE & MACULA: Many thanks for the interest and support for my new book, Decision Diagnosis: Seven Antidotes to Decision Procrastination. Since its release, it has held a top spot on Amazon in multiple categories and in multiple countries.

It is currently listed as:

#1 in Decision-Making & Problem Solving (USA)
#1 in Management & Leadership (USA)
#2 in Business & Money (USA)
#3 in Management & Leadership (UK)
#2 in Decision-Making & Problem Solving (Germany)
#1 in Self-Help & Success (Canada)
#1 in Decision-Making & Problem Solving (Canada)
#1 in Management & Leadership, Decision-Making & Problem Solving (Canada)
#1 in Decision-Making & Problem Solving (Australia)

My sincere thanks for the support!

The paperback will be released in the next few days and you find it here.

 

GRATIS: “In a bet, there is always a fool and a thief.” -Unknown
 

My best to you,

David Almeida

david@davidalmeidamd.com

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“Fight the need to judge. Become a celebrator rather than a critic.”

 

TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about critics. As we all know, everyone is a critic! Everyone has opinions and biases that they feel the need to impart on others. The need to judge has two facets. On the one hand, you need to judge effectively to survive the physicality of life. You need to judge which food to eat and avoid the rotten fruit. You need to judge whether to drive given the forecast for a snowstorm. You need to judge the offers, opportunities, and obligations present in your life.

However, on the other hand, there is a point when the need to judge degrades our relationships and experiences. Constantly criticizing the possible or perceived negative aspects of our station causes us to lose the ability to fully partake in it. In this stressful state, we become defensive and detached. It is difficult to acknowledge that by criticizing, we are retracting from meaningful communication. By judging, we are choosing to turn away from the rapport and recognition that may help us grow and develop.

“By judging, we are choosing to turn away from the rapport and recognition that may help us grow and develop.”

So, what do you do? How do you become a celebrator rather than a critic? There are two strategies to embrace your inner celebrator. First, accept that “Time is the fairest and toughest judge” (Edgar Quinet). You don’t need to judge anyone. You don’t need to criticize every interaction. Time will hand down its judgment on all. You can free yourself from this need to judge by seeing yourself as an insignificant microcosm on time’s rather lengthy record. This liberating action helps you detach from negative encounters without becoming consumed by them.

“You don’t need to judge anyone. You don’t need to criticize every interaction. Time will hand down its judgment on all.”

Second, celebrate with gratitude! Whether it be relationships or duties, find some aspect to be grateful for. Then celebrate it! Although simple, this is not intuitive, because of our overwhelming need to find negative attributes to correct. Next time you want to judge someone or something, try this. Find some aspect that you are grateful for and celebrate it. Before you know it, instead of criticizing you will be celebrating even losses and hardship.

“Rather than criticizing, find some aspect that you are grateful for and celebrate it!”

 

MEDICINE & MACULA: Check out our latest publication, Deer Tick Masquerading as Pigmented Conjunctival Lesion (Robin K Kuriakose, Lorna W Grant, Eric K Chin & David RP Almeida) published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports.

In it, we report a unique case of tick penetration of a black-legged deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) into the conjunctiva. Despite the low risk for Lyme disease, doxycycline was prescribed for prophylaxis. In any case of suspected tick penetration to the ocular surface, immediate ophthalmologic consultation and prompt removal as well as attention paid to the Infectious Diseases Society of America guidelines regarding prophylaxis.

You can find the study here.

 

GRATIS: “Let you look sometimes for the goodness in me, and judge me not.” -Arthur Miller

 

My best to you,

David Almeida

david@davidalmeidamd.com

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“Passion is about living days immersed in the strength of a barely controllable emotion.”

 

TASK AT HAND: First, I want to say thanks to everyone for their interest and support in my new book, Decision Diagnosis: Seven Antidotes to Decision Procrastination. As I mentioned last week, I am going to do one more excerpt from the book here on today’s Sunday Surgical Scrub.

As part of my initial launch, I have reduced the price to 99 cents for one more week. If you feel inclined, kindly take a moment to leave a review. You can find it on Amazon here. If you are having any trouble with the link, you can copy and paste this address into your web browser: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NCRPPVL

 

Here is a portion from Chapter 6: Alleviating Factors, on the concept of passion in decision-making, personal relationships, and how to regularly reacquaint yourself with passion in your life. If there is one part of the book that feeds all others, yet stands alone, it is the one that follows.

 

Passion
To practice with passion, we need to define the concept of passion. We need to identify why passion is so important to successful strategic development. Passion is about living days immersed in the strength of a barely controllable emotion. Passion, as a source of energy, can be oppressed by the many tasks and distractions that endlessly intrude into our lives. However, I have found that reacquainting yourself with your passion is a revitalizing elixir of energy, focus, and determination that you can’t neglect.

“Passion, as a source of energy, can be oppressed by the many tasks and distractions that endlessly intrude into our lives.”

Consequently, I have found three strategies to ensure that passion is a tenet not lost and neglected. Using these three strategies, you can routinely and commonly implement your passion into your decision-making.

Passion and decision-making. When you are formulating decisions and employing strategies in your business or professional life, don’t neglect to acquaint yourself with your drives and desires. Some aspects are best decided dispassionately, but core fundamentals require a degree of enthusiasm, self-expression, and identity to fulfill the full potential of the decision in question. Many times, when you have options without major distinctions, choosing the one best aligned with your passion will provide you opportunities you did not foresee.

“A personal relationship without some element of passion is a mere acquaintance.”

Passion in your personal relationships. A personal relationship without some element of passion is a mere acquaintance. Strive to consistently surround yourself with people who stroke the fires of vitality: those who challenge you, those who ask you to grow, and those who allow you to change. Finding passion in your personal relationships will allow you to achieve better decisions, implement better strategies, and be more content in the relationships you have and care for.

Passion in your daily life. Finally, regardless of your professional and personal endeavors, do something you are passionate about each day. There is no need for it to be for more than a few minutes, but stay connected to that drive daily. Don’t lose this connection because it is a defining part of who you are.

The aim is that when you look back on your life, you can recall a life lived with passion—days filled with this barely controllable emotion that allows you to create and touch the lives of others in fantastical and wonderful ways.

 

GRATIS: “Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.” -Mark Twain

 

My best to you,

David Almeida

david@davidalmeidamd.com

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“What makes a strategy successful?

If it works, it’s successful!”

 

TASK AT HAND: This week, as you have probably noticed, I’m going off script here on the Sunday Surgical Scrub. Earlier this week, I published my first book entitled, Decision Diagnosis: Seven Antidotes to Decision Procrastination.

 

As part of the initial launch, I have reduced the price to 99 cents for a limited time. In return for this reduced price, I ask that, if you choose to download the book, you kindly take a moment to leave a review. My book will only be at this reduced price for the next two weeks and you can find it on Amazon here.
If you are having any trouble with the link above, you can copy and paste this link into your web browser: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NCRPPVL

 

With sincere thanks for your interest and support, I leave you here with the Introduction:

Are you struggling with decision-making? Are you having difficulty with the efficient application of strategies, whether in life or work? Is your life negatively affected by feelings of mediocrity, a sense of being stuck or glued to a lack of progress, or a lack of ability to move to the next phase in life?

If you are overwhelmed with decisions or struggling to find the best way to succeed and move forward, there is a solution.

“You can’t make successful decisions if you don’t know what those decisions are asking of you.”

You can’t make successful decisions if you don’t know what those decisions are asking of you. But when you uncover all the parts you need to consider, you can make fruitful and focused decisions. In this book, via the brokering of economics theories, the scientific method, and a surgical approach to medical problems, you will find innovative methods to diagnosing decisions and tools for improving your clarity in personal and professional decision-making.

My years as a physician and surgeon have given me insight into the diagnosis of complex diseases. I have learned that they can appear in many ways. Sometimes, a patient’s disease presents itself in a textbook way, making the diagnosis and treatment straightforward. However, most of the time, diseases present in convoluted manners, leaving doctors confused, with the possibility of complications with catastrophic implications.

Similarly, one day, life may flow predictably and idly, and the other, it may thrust you into violent storms that require sharp strategy, thoughtful decision-making, and excellent execution. So why not equip yourself to react and apply the correct techniques and maneuvers to prevent this pathology from taking a permanent hold?

Physicians and surgeons routinely go through seven attributes of a medical problem to tease out the pertinent positives and negatives from a patient, so as to arrive at the right diagnosis and manage the patient with the correct treatment. Here I have hybridized this medical technique normally used for complex diagnoses with my work in research and business leadership to create seven antidotes to decision procrastination—a framework, entitled Decision Diagnosis, which we can apply to decision-making.

I believe that when you apply this framework, it will provide useful insights. Most importantly of all, it will help you achieve a greater understanding, clarity, and focus in your strategy and decision-making. Whether it is for personal or professional decisions, I believe this construct will help you succeed and improve your strategic and executive function.

The seven antidotes are all about uncovering the relevant factors of your decisions so that you can be successful in your decision-making process. There are seven characteristics that you need to evaluate and judge to enhance your ability to be efficient and successful in decision-making: character, setting, timing, quality, quantity, aggravating factors, and alleviating factors.

Over the next chapters, I will show you how to apply this framework effectively, and I will break down complex decisions to give you the best possible understanding as you navigate through the difficult storms of life.

 

GRATIS: I’ll post one more portion of the book here next week as part of the initial launch.

 

My best to you,

David Almeida

david@davidalmeidamd.com

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“Allow yourself to change.

Allow yourself to change your mind.

At the dawn of a new year, you don’t have to be the same, so allow yourself to change.”

 

TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about agents of change. Specifically, how you can be your own agent of change. Today, New Year’s Day 2017, many will awaken with resolutions and recipes to improve during the year ahead. However, from the best available evidence, only about 8% of people are successful at achieving their new year’s resolution and implementing some sort of meaningful change in their life. That is less than 1 in 10.

I find this failure rate surprising because we have an incredible ability to process and understand information. The bottleneck is in its implementation and persistent application. So, here are three quick tips to facilitate your ability to be an agent of change.

1. Start Small. Don’t attempt to change a multitude of behaviors overnight. Don’t set a plan that is beyond your reach. I see this commonly done. It is a predictable form of self-sabotage. This causes you to start with unrealistic plans, quickly fail, and then you are back to old stagnant ways. Instead, start small, set mini-goals, achieve, and build momentum.

2. Be Persistent. Stick to that which you want to change. In this regard, persistence and perseverance are congruent to progress and the powers of invention. Aim for a minimum of 80% adherence to the change you want to see. Let’s take learning a new language as an arbitrary example. Practice 4 days a week (80% of a 5-day work week) and go from there.

3. Be Kind. Be kind and allow yourself to change. This is the whole barrier. This is the singular obstacle in our puzzle. When I allow myself to change, I am forced to adapt in a new manner to the circumstances that exist. When you are kind to yourself, you accept that behaviors are not a binary process of pass/fail or yes/no but rather processes of evolution.

 

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

-Charles Darwin

 

So, as you step into the hours of a new year, as the days click by on the 2017 odometer, allow yourself to change constantly. In the months that lie ahead, procure problems and opportunities in some new manner so that, when you look back this time next year, you see yourself as an agent of change.

 

MEDICINE & MACULA: Let’s start off the year with a wonderful image of a hemispheric retinal arteriovenous anastomoses from a patient with Wyburn-Mason Syndrome.

We published this image back in November 2015 entitled, Hemispheric Retinal Arteriovenous Anastomoses (Eric K Chin, D Brice Critser &  David RP Almeida) in JAMA Ophthalmology (2015;133(11):e151687. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2015.1687).

You can find the study here.

 

GRATIS: “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” -Oprah Winfrey

 

Happy New Year!

David Almeida

david@davidalmeidamd.com

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