Derek Sivers

from the book “Useful Not True”:

Curve into the target


I’m pretty bad at bowling and frisbee.

I roll the ball or throw the disc straight at the target, but away it curves.

After this happens a couple times, I adjust. I stop aiming straight, since that’s not working. If it always curves to the left, I aim to the right.

It feels wrong to aim away from the target. But it curves back to the center. It works.

Same with thoughts. I try to think straight. But sometimes my thoughts miss.

I would under-estimate how long a project would take. So now I double my estimate - (aim to the right) - which brings it closer to the truth. It feels wrong, because I really do think it will take a month, but out loud I say “two months”. Now my estimates hit the target.

I tend to believe my memories are correct. But I learned from experience that they’re fabricated. So now I try to assume that all my memories are false.

Aiming your thinking away from the target feels wrong but makes it right.

Another definition of the word “true” means straight and accurate. And the word “bias” means angled or curved. So we can choose beliefs that are not true, because they are useful to compensate for our bias.

man bowling