Zen and the Art of Past Performances

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Is your head swirling with too much information? Trainer stats, bias ratings, trip notes, jockey/trainer combos, class appraisal, form appraisal, etc., and please give me an Excedrin. Signal-to-noise ratio is in full bloom? Well, I recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s New York Times bestseller Blink  in which Gladwell does a entertaining job of describing the human ability to make correct decisions based on intuitive reasoning. For me, it shed light on the problem of over-analysis in our jobs and our lives and, of course, handicapping. In fact, Gladwell suggests that we may make better snap decisions than we think we do, and the old adage “It just doesn’t feel right” may be the best indicator.

I am, however, a huge endorser of “higher education” handicapping. It’s extremely important to be as knowledgeable as possible. But we need to be careful when deciding which information is key and should be acted upon and separate it from all of the other nonessential data with which we are bombarded. Over the years I’ve come to realize that I just don’t want or need that much information anymore. For example, I don’t need fractions.  Simple is better for me; it’s a Zen thing.

I’m not saying you should do the same. I’m just saying that if your head is spinning with a signal-to-noise ratio that’s overwhelming you then think hard about what it is that you really need. Do some research and fine tune your requirements. Psychologist tell us that information overload causes nervousness and feelings of uncertainty. That’s not a winning combination. So trim down the information to the areas that jazz you and see what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised. I was.

February 10, 2010 • Posted in: Articles

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