Jack Uldrich
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When Your Neck is On the Line: Unlearn

Posted in Black Swans, Books, Stories

In honor of tomorrow being Thanksgiving, I thought I would recount a wonderful story from Nassim Taleb’s outstanding book, The Black Swan:

Consider a turkey that is fed every day. Every single feeding will firm up the bird’s belief that it is the general rule of life to be fed every day by friendly members of the human race “looking out for its best interests,” as a politician would say. On the afternoon of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, something unexpected will happen to the turkey. It will incur a revision of belief.”

Taleb goes on to add this: “Think of the feeding again: What can a turkey learn about what is in store for it tomorrow from the events of yesterday? A lot, perhaps, but certainly a little less than it thinks, and it is just that “little less” that may make all the difference.”

Here’s to wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving … but remember this: The knowledge you have learned in the past may have been useful, indeed, instrumental to your current success but it is no guarantee that it will insure your survival tomorrow. Just ask a turkey. Stay open to unlearning!

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