What Is Zero-Sum Thinking and Could it Be Harming You?

When you were little, did you fight with your brother or sister about who would get the last gummy bear? If not candy, what about toys? Or who got to sit in the front of the ride?

woman-in-deep-thought-and-preoccupation
Photo Credit: Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

But why did you fight in the first place? Because you believed the other’s loss was your gain.

We’ve all experienced this at some point in our childhood. If not with a brother or sister, perhaps a friend or cousin (or all of the above).

This is zero-sum thinking and it continues to affect us well into adulthood. It’s a harmful way of thinking about the world, not just for others, but for yourself as well.

War is grounded in the notion of triumph and defeat. It is zero-sum.

– Bruce Jackson

What is zero-sum thinking?

Zero-sum thinking, or zero-sum bias, is a cognitive bias used to describe when a person believes that a situation is a matter of win-lose or loss-gain. In other words, they believe one person’s loss is another person’s gain.

In a 2015 research paper, researcher Rozycka-Tran and his colleagues defined zero-sum thinking as:

A general belief system about the antagonistic nature of social relations, shared by people in a society or culture and based on the implicit assumption that a finite amount of goods exists in the world, in which one person’s winning makes others the losers, and vice versa […]

[…] a relatively permanent and general conviction that social relations are like a zero-sum game. People who share this conviction believe that success, especially economic success, is possible only at the expense of other people’s failures.

In the real world, there are countless examples of this way of thinking:

  1. When negotiating, thinking that for you to win the negotiation the other side must come away the loser (in a comparative sense)
  2. In relationships, thinking that someone’s love for one person means they have less love to give to another
  3. When a student believes they’re being graded on a curve, where other student’s performance, or lack there of, affects their own results, when in fact they’re being graded on traditional predetermined standards

The examples are endless, but the point is the same: in each case, we’re buying into the belief that when others lose we win, or that we’re losing because others are “winning.”

How zero-sum thinking could be harming you

So, why is this bad? How can zero-sum thinking be harming you and what should you do about it?

Zero-sum thinking, by its very definition, puts you at odds with another person or persons. When you believe that you can only win by way of others losing, you can do only one of two things:

  1. Try to win by way of making others lose
  2. Allow others to win and believe you’ll lose as a result

Either way, you’re buying into a belief that either you’re destined to fail, such as when you’re pitted against someone you love and whom you don’t want to win against, or you’re intentionally putting yourself in conflict with others in an attempt to win.

However, this has a more detrimental side effect: you become combative even when it’s not necessary.

Because of this, you’re more likely to miss out on making key connections, friends, and realizing opportunities because you’re approach is more akin to burning bridges then it is linking up a vast and powerful network (something virtually all successful people have) where you work together to realize joint success.

What to do instead

business-handshake-entering-negotiation

So, what should you be doing instead of buying into the idea that you have to ride on the backs of others to realize your definition of success?

One thing and one thing only: realize that success in anything is easier to make happen when you have good people at your side, a powerful network, and are just as concerned with helping others succeed as you are for yourself.

And by living and working from the perspective of building and gaining through teamwork instead of by way of tearing down your neighbors to build yourself up, you’ll not only be more likely to succeed, but you’ll also help build a better world in the process.

Maintained Matthew Leffler

Indonesia earthquake and tsunami: Desperate search for survivors

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Media captionRescuers have been digging by hand in the search for survivors

A picture of large scale destruction is emerging in the Indonesian city of Palu, after a quake and tsunami struck on Friday.

At least 832 people are confirmed to have died but that figure is expected to rise sharply as more remote areas are reached.

The authorities have said they will begin burying victims in mass graves, fearing disease could begin to spread.

Dozens of people are thought to be trapped alive under the rubble.

In Palu, rescuers are awaiting heavy machinery to search the ruins of a hotel and a shopping centre as aftershocks made it unsafe for them to go in.

“Communication is limited, heavy machinery is limited… it’s not enough for the numbers of buildings that collapsed,” said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

A tsunami warning had been issued after the magnitude 7.5 earthquake hit on Friday, but it is unclear whether it was still in place when the waves hit.

Videos show people screaming as 6m-high waves power over the beach – where a festival was being set-up – sweeping up everything in their path.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited the region to urge a “day and night” effort to rescue survivors.

Mr Widodo has also agreed to accept international help for disaster response and relief, Thomas Lembong, the head of the Indonesian investment board said on Twitter on Monday.

Patients and corpses side by side

By Rebecca Henschke, BBC News, Palu

Lying on a stretcher in the dark outside the Mamboro health clinic in Palu is a five-year-old girl with a broken leg. She was found alone, Doctor Sasono tells me. “We don’t know where her family is and she doesn’t remember where is lives.” His clinic has no power and is running out of medical supplies.

A few metres from her stretcher bed are rows of bodies in bags. The smell of decomposing bodies fills the air.

Dr Sasono says they will be buried in mass graves to stop the spread of diseases: “They are starting to smell. We want to wait for relatives to pick them up but we can’t wait any longer.”

Rows of rubble lie all along the shoreline where vibrant fishing villages once stood.

People’s possessions lie smashed together with cars and boats tossed around by the massive waves. Amid the rubble are tents where families are sleeping out in the open.

How difficult is the rescue work?

Blocked roads, a damaged airport and broken telecommunications have made it difficult to bring help into the affected area, and impossible to contact more remote regions.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Roads have crumbled as the ground underneath gave way

“We don’t know for sure what is the impact,” said Mr Nugroho.

Local media report that mobile phone signals have been detected in the rubble of the shopping mall in Palu, and shouts have been heard under the debris of the Roa Roa Hotel.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Dozens of people were known to be inside the Roa Roa hotel

One volunteer, Thalib Bawano, told AFP news agency that three people had been rescued from the hotel rubble, where more than 50 people may be trapped.

“We also heard voices at several points, including a child,” he said.

“They were asking for help, but they are still there till now. We gave them motivation… so they can have spirit because they are trapped between life and death.”

“We gave them water and food but that’s not what they wanted. They wanted to get out. ‘We want to get out, out, out. Help! Help!’ they kept screaming. That’s what we heard. Some were just knocking.”

What are the other challenges?

In Palu, people have been sleeping in the open, wary of returning to their homes, even if they are still intact.

With hospitals damaged, injured people have been treated in the open and at least one military field hospital has been set up.

The military has taken over the airport to fly aid in, and injured people and other evacuees out.

“What you’ll see, you know, as the days go by and people don’t have access to adequate hygiene supplies, shelter, you’ll see the situation deteriorate if they don’t get that access so, we’ve sent shelter kits,” Tom Howells, programme director for Save The Children, said on Sunday.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Military aircraft have been evacuating some of the injured
Image copyright EPA
Image caption A shattered mosque in Palu

With supplies limited, people have been raiding damaged shops for food, water and medicine.

“We don’t have any other choice, we must get food,” one man told AFP.

Meanwhile mass graves are being dug, one of them for up to 300 bodies.

Why was the tsunami so destructive?

The 7.5 magnitude quake occurred at a depth of 10km (6.2 miles) just off the central island of Sulawesi at 18:03 (10:03 GMT) on Friday, setting off a tsunami, US monitors say.

The earthquake was powerful but shallow and with more lateral than vertical movement, not typically the kind of tremor that sets off tsunamis.

Vice-President Jusuf Kalla has said the final death toll could be in the thousands while the Red Cross estimates that more than 1.6 million people have been affected.

A sophisticated tsunami warning system was put in place across the whole Pacific region after the 2004 disaster, which killed nearly a quarter of a million people.

It remains unclear why it was not effective this time, but Mr Nugroho said Indonesia’s part of the network has suffered from a lack of funding.


Have you been affected by the earthquake? If it is safe to do so, share your experience by emailing [email protected]

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

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Maintained Matthew Leffler

Grants

Yeah, this is fair, but considering A: everything Regalli said, and also B: that, on top of all her other corner-cutting, she broke up with Walky in order to be less distracted, it feels remarkable to me that she’d so casually give time to Joyce. I mean, I’m always glad to see them interact, it’s just surprising.

(Also thank you for compliment!)

Dumbing of Age

Maintained Matthew Leffler

Capture

Hey, if you’re willing to shell out thirty to fifty bucks for a peripheral…

(I am, in fact, THAT MUCH of a sucker for both Mew and overpriced pieces of Nintendo-themed plastic, but I still have trouble justifying it to myself.)

(Don’t have one in Go, though. Still grinding out that Gyarados. But I went to a Toys R Us event back in 2007 or so* to get one in distribution when you still needed to trade them and the Mythical distribution back in 2016 was super-helpful.)

* Which entailed, because we were traveling out of state that weekend and had scheduled appointments, dragging my mom to a Toys R Us in a different state early in the morning after weeks of obsessing because MEW. Worth it though.

Dumbing of Age

Maintained Matthew Leffler

Elon Musk reaches deal over tweets about taking Tesla private

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Media captionWho is Elon Musk?

Elon Musk must step down as Tesla chair and pay a fine after reaching a deal with US regulators over tweets he posted about taking the firm private.

It follows Thursday’s decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to sue Mr Musk for alleged securities fraud.

Under the deal, Mr Musk will remain as Tesla CEO but will step down as chairman for three years.

Both he and Tesla will also have to pay a $20m (£15m) fine.

What did he say in the tweets?

The fraud allegation relates to his August tweet in which Mr Musk said he was considering taking electronic car maker Tesla off the stock market and into private ownership.

He wrote he had “funding secured” for the proposal, which would value Tesla at $420 per share. Shares in the company briefly rose after his announcement, but later fell again.

The SEC said those claims were “false and misleading”.

“In truth and in fact, Musk had not even discussed, much less confirmed, key deal terms, including price, with any potential funding source,” the regulator said.

Mr Musk initially responded to the charges by saying the action was “unjustified” and he acted in the “best interests of truth, transparency and investors”.

What is in the deal?

In addition to the fines, Mr Musk will also have to comply with company communications procedures when tweeting about the firm.

He now has 45 days to leave his role as chairman of Tesla.

The SEC had initially sought to ban Mr Musk from working on the board of any publicly traded company, but under the deal he will now be able to stay on as Tesla’s chief executive officer.

A new “independent chairman” for the company will be appointed, who will preside over the company’s board.

Forcing Tesla to separate the roles of CEO and chairman should limit Mr Musk’s power within the company.

Despite this, many analysts say the outcome is a good one for Mr Musk, given he remains in charge of day-to-day operations as CEO.

Who is Elon Musk?

Born in South Africa, Mr Musk made millions from online payments firm PayPal before moving on to Tesla and rocket company SpaceX.

He is the 25th richest person in the world, according to Forbes, which estimates his net worth to be $19.7bn (£15.1bn).

But it has been a volatile summer for the entrepreneur.

Mr Musk is being sued for defamation after making allegations against a British diver involved in the Thai cave rescue.

Earlier this month, he found himself in another controversy after appearing on a podcast while smoking marijuana. Although the drug is legal in California, where the podcast was recorded, shares in Tesla fell more than nine per cent after his appearance.

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Maintained Matthew Leffler

Nut

I think when someone close to her comes out (either Jocelyne or Carla disclosing,) she’s going to be more primed to handle it well this time.

There’ll be a lot of questions, but I think Joyce has had a lot of growth and that will help – her religion is already straining to a near-breaking point, she’s definitely siding with ‘I love you and will support you even if I don’t Get It yet,’ and the knowledge that it’s her one sibling who’s supported her and Becky so thoroughly/the cool girl who helps her just because she can is going to mean Joyce picks a side very quickly.

(That said, it’ll go way better if it’s private, particularly in Jocelyne’s case. A really basic explanation and then Joyce asking questions is going to help in the moment, and that is definitely not gonna happen if Carol’s there.)

(I tend to think it’ll be Jocelyne first, but Joyce knowing about Carla will speed things up dramatically and if it does come down to Joyce finding out with the parents then that’ll help. I tend to think that story’s going to be someday when we get to the holidays? Joyce is definitely not inclined to visit home again any time soon, so Jocelyne won’t show up unless she visits IU.)

Dumbing of Age

Maintained Matthew Leffler

Brett Kavanaugh: Trump’s Supreme Court pick faces FBI inquiry

Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford both gave evidence on Thursday

President Donald Trump has ordered an FBI investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against his nominee for the US Supreme Court.

A Senate committee earlier voted to approve Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the top US court.

But a Republican member only backed the move on the understanding that such an inquiry would occur.

As a result, a full Senate vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation has been delayed for up to a week.

Judge Kavanaugh, an appeal court judge, denies allegations from at least three women.

On Thursday, the committee heard testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, a professor of psychology in California, who says Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers in the 1980s.

Judge Kavanaugh also testified, angrily rejecting the allegation he had ever assaulted her or anyone else. He accused Democrats of politicising the process and harming his family and good name.

What will the investigation do?

Announcing the move, President Trump said: “I’ve ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh’s file. As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week.”

The inquiry will involve the FBI reopening its previously completed background check on Judge Kavanaugh. This might mean going back to old witnesses – or speaking to new ones.

Friday saw Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee throw out Democrat attempts to subpoena Mark Judge, a friend of Judge Kavanaugh who Dr Ford said had witnessed the assault on her 36 years ago.

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Media captionTrump: ‘Ford’s testimony was very compelling’

Mr Judge had told the committee in a written statement that he did not recall any such incident.

Mr Judge’s lawyer Barbara Van Gelder said: “If the FBI or any law enforcement agency requests Mr Judge’s co-operation, he will answer any and all questions posed to him.”

Responding to President Trump’s statement, Judge Kavanaugh said “I’ve done everything they have requested and will continue to co-operate”.

Dr Ford’s lawyer, Debra Katz, said her client welcomed the step but questioned the time limit of a week.

“A thorough FBI investigation is critical to developing all the relevant facts… No artificial limits as to time or scope should be imposed on this investigation.”

What led to this?

Friday saw the Senate Judiciary Committee split along party lines in a vote on passing the nomination to the full Senate.

Democrats accused the 11 Republicans of attempting to rush the process, while Republicans countered that the 10 Democrats were using the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh in an attempt to delay – and ultimately block – the conservative judge from joining the Supreme Court.

Arizona Republican Jeff Flake told the committee that he would back the motion to send Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination for a full vote on the Senate floor – but would not support his confirmation in the Senate without the additional FBI inquiry.

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Media captionRepublican Senator Jeff Flake is challenged by a sexual assault survivor

The vote then went ahead, with all 11 Republicans including Mr Flake in favour and all 10 Democrats voting against.

After the vote, the committee said it was requesting that Mr Trump order an additional background investigation “limited to current credible allegations against the nominee and must be completed no later than one week from today”.

Mr Flake began the session by saying he would back Judge Kavanaugh but on his way to the committee room he was berated by two women who said they were victims of sexual violence and urged him to change his mind.

Why is this vote so important?

The Supreme Court plays a vital role in US political life. Appointed for life, its nine members have the final say on US law.

This includes highly contentious social issues, such as abortion, and challenges to government policy.

Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment could tilt the balance in favour of conservatives for years to come.

Republicans control the Senate by a narrow 51-49 majority. Without the support of Mr Flake and one other Republican senator – and assuming all Democrats vote against – the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh cannot occur.

What are the other allegations against Kavanaugh?

Image copyright Michael Avenatti
Image caption Julie Swetnick in an image provided by her lawyer Michael Avenatti

Aside from Dr Ford, they are:

  • Deborah Ramirez. The former Yale University student has said that Brett Kavanaugh once exposed himself to her at a dormitory party in the 1980s. She alleges the incident occurred during a drinking game and remembers Brett Kavanaugh standing to her right and laughing
  • Julie Swetnick. A Washington DC resident. In a sworn affidavit, she alleges Brett Kavanaugh was involved in the drugging and sexual assault of girls at house parties in the 1980s. She says she was the victim of a gang rape in 1982 at a party attended by the now-Supreme Court nominee
  • Anonymous. A woman sent a letter to a Colorado senator alleging her daughter had witnessed Judge Kavanaugh pushing a woman he was dating “very aggressively and sexually” against a wall in 1998

Judge Kavanaugh denies these allegations, and on Thursday called Ms Swetnick’s allegation “a joke” and “a farce”.

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Maintained Matthew Leffler

Pre-Law Workshop Online With Louisville Defense Attorney

will be available for a workshop via Skype. PreLaw students are encouraged to meet online or through the campus law library beginning September 12, 2018 at 1pm EST.  Judah practices law with Lynch, Cox, Gilman & Goodman delivering legal expertise.He has conducted jury trials in both state and federal courts. Three sessions will be covering:

– All types of civil lawsuits, including contract disputes, property damage, and more

– All criminal law, including felonies, misdemeanors, DUI, expungements, state and federal cases

– Divorce proceedings, spousal support, division of assets, and post-divorce services

Armand Judah, Louisville Defense Attorney

To attend please complete the following form

Maintained Matthew Leffler

Uninvolved

I lost an entire lengthy comment, but: Normally I would say yes, seeing each other as equals is a fantastic and necessary part of a relationship.

The problem is that Walky and Amber both have massive self-esteem issues and see themselves as equally GARBAGE, and their relationship currently has them reinforcing to each other that yep, we are both terrible people instead of ‘There is at least one person who doesn’t think you’re terrible and maybe we can try and feel less terrible together’.

(This dynamic is also present in Ruth/Billie, though lessening on Ruth’s part. It is EXTREMELY WORRYING there, too. I actively worry about Billie because she is definitely Not Okay and not seeking help.)

I really think in another time, Amber and Walky could be great together. But not with this massive web of secrets of Amber’s hanging over them, and not unless they start feeling like maybe they could be Less Garbage.

Dumbing of Age

Maintained Matthew Leffler