Today, I want to discuss the barriers to creating new beliefs, and there are several barriers, of course. Essentially, the barriers to creating our new beliefs are our old beliefs that we have accepted as true. Sometimes we get to a point where we think our beliefs are true for everyone. When we get to this point, we move from beliefs to facts; and sometimes these are in the realm of politics or religion or, other times, it just means the beliefs we have about ourselves that we believe are true, and we’ve accepted them as unchangeable. Then there is the ever dream-killing belief statement: I can’t do that.
Today we’re doing to dive into correlation versus causation, a concept used in both science and philosophy. I also want to shed new light on the process of confirmation bias so that you can see how it will always prevent you from changing what you believe from an unconscious conditioned function to a consciously intentional function.
Make a note to tune in to next week’s episode, where I’ll be diving deeper into the concept of confirmation bias and how you can use confirmation bias to your advantage to create new beliefs, even though it can be and often is another barrier to believing new things. For today, I’ll leave you with this before we start: Ask yourself, does A cause B? Is B the effect of A? Or do A and B simply appear together and, through the use of repetition and acceptance, I have mistaken a thought for a fact? Have you mistaken a correlation for causation? Let’s find out.
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What You’ll Learn From this Episode:
- The difference between correlation and causation and how they act as barriers to creating new beliefs.
- Bad news for people living in an unconscious state: most of society’s ideas are made up of correlated data.
- How correlation impacts your ability to learn.
- What to do to step away from correlation and pay attention to causation.
- The barriers to changing what you believe.
- How to remove correlation by determining how the cause is creating the effect.
Listen to the Full Episode:
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[00:00:09] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the Alpha Male Coach Podcast, the only podcast that teaches men the cognitive mastery and alpha mindset that it takes to become an influential and irresistible man of confidence. Here’s your host, certified life coach and international man of mystery, Kevin Aillaud.
[00:00:32] KA: What’s up my brothers? Welcome back to the Alpha Male Coach Podcast. I am your host, Kevin Aillaud. What I want to discuss with you guys today is the barriers to creating new beliefs, and there are several barriers, of course. Essentially, the barriers to creating our new beliefs, the barriers to our new beliefs are our old beliefs that we have accepted as true.
Sometimes, this means we think our beliefs are true for everyone. When we think that our beliefs are true for everyone, we call them facts, and sometimes these are in the realm of politics. Sometimes, these are in the realms of religion. Other times, it just means that our beliefs that we have about ourselves that we believe are true, and we’ve accepted them as unchangeable.
When I say that’s just the way I am, that is a belief. That is not a fact. Or when I say I’m not good at this, that’s a belief that we have believed is true. We’ve accepted it as true and unchangeable. But when I say I’ve always had a hard time with so and so or with such and such and then, of course, there’s the ever dream killing statement belief that says I can’t do that.
Now, there are several barriers to creating new beliefs. In this episode, I want to discuss correlation versus causation. The concept of correlation versus causation is used in both science and philosophy. I’m briefly also going to mention confirmation bias, which is a psychological concept and a topic I’ve gone over in previous podcast episodes. I want to shed new light on the process of confirmation bias so that you can see how it will prevent and how will always prevent you from changing what you believe from an unconscious conditioned function to a consciously intentional function, which I’m going to do in the next episode. I’m going to talk about confirmation bias in the next episode because I want to begin with correlation versus causation.
As many of you probably know, if you’ve been a part of my audience for the last couple years, my background is in both physics and philosophy. I double majored in the hard sciences and the liberal arts. Although these two enterprises may appear to be opposites, there was plenty of overlap. One of the overlaps that I would hear consistently in both the science courses and the philosophy courses was the concept of correlation versus causation because it’s true for both statistical analysis, but it’s also true when we talk about logic, when we talk about truth in philosophy.
Even later in my life, even when I was no longer a student and when I was making a career in fitness and in business, the idea of correlation versus causation came up very, very often, even in common discussions that I would have with peers and teachers. In fact, coach Greg Glassman, the Founder and true owner of CrossFit would use the term correlation versus causation often as a way to separate conjecture from fact.
The concept of correlation versus causation requires defining both terms, so we’re going to define correlation. I’m going to define causation. Correlation is a term used in statistics that refers to the degree of association between two random variables. The key here for you to remember is random. The correlation between the two data sets is the amount to which they resemble each other. For example, if A and B tend to be observed at the same time, there is a correlation between A and B. This doesn’t mean that A causes B, however. It only means that when A is observed, like when we’re looking at variable A, when we see it, variable B is also observed, and they tend or there will be movement together or they will show up together at the same time.
For example, let me give you a quick example, a rancher notices that over the course of owning his farm, all of the cows and the heifers, the female cows, only get pregnant on a full moon. This is correlation. Of course, this is correlation. Or more specifically, it’s positive correlation because as A is present, as the full moon is present, B increases. Cows get pregnant. A and B appear together. As one is there, the other tends to show up as well. This is correlation. That’s an example.
Now, when I say that, you guys are like, “Well, wait a second. Being a full moon doesn’t cause cows to get pregnant, right?” That is correlation. But for the rancher, he may believe that the correlation has a causal relationship. Causation is when A and B have a cause and effect relationship with one another. Essentially, what that means is if A exists, it causes B. In causation, the two events appear at the same time or one right after the other — and it means that these two variables not only appear together, but the existence of one causes the other to manifest. If A exists then B will be the cause.
Now, knowing the difference between correlation and causation is important in choosing to believe new things. That’s why it’s a part of this podcast. That’s why it’s this podcast episode because, my brothers, most of what we are conditioned to believe is based on a set of correlations that we have determined. You individually have determined to be causations. When you do that, when you make the mistake of a correlation being a causation, you will begin to make decisions based on erroneous data.
Again, take the example of cows getting pregnant on a full moon. The rancher may believe this is a causal relationship that the presence of the full moon is actually what causes his cows to be pregnant. Now, of course, I’m laughing about this because you all know that that’s not what causes cows to get pregnant. We know this. But if he believes that – let’s say the rancher really believes that. He doesn’t know anything about sexual intercourse. He doesn’t know anything about sperm and ova and all that stuff but he just thinks that the light of the full moon causes the pregnancy of his female cows. If this is an outcome he desires, if he wants his cows to be pregnant, then he’s going to leave his cows out in the pasture during the period of the full moon.
If this is not the outcome he desires, if he does not want his cows to be pregnant, then he will bring his cows into the barn or some kind of shelter from the full moon. The rancher himself will never know that the true reason, the causal relationship between his cows becoming pregnant during the full moon has nothing to do with the full moon. It has to do with the lights. That’s when the bulls can see the cows at night, and then they make their move to inseminate them. We all know that the causal relationship of pregnancy is sperm and ovum integration, so the real causal relationship is the bull semen integrating with the cow ovum.
We know that that is the cause of pregnancy. That’s a causal relationship. The full moon is the correlation because during a full moon, the bulls can see the cows at night, and that’s when they make their move. But for the rancher, he doesn’t know that. For the rancher, all he knows is the correlation. He just says, “Well, it’s full moon at night. My cows are getting pregnant. It must be because of the full moon.” There’s no causal relationship there, but that is what the rancher believes and that is where so many of our beliefs come from. They come from correlation, not from causation.
Now, fortunately and unfortunately, most of the world’s ideas, not just your ideas, brother, not just the way you see the world but the way most of the world sees itself, the way most of humanity, the way most of our society sees the world, the way most of society’s ideas are made up is from correlated data. There aren’t many causal relationships that exist outside of natural laws. This is bad news for people living in an unconscious state. For people living in the beta condition, this is bad news.
For example, there are correlations that would seem to be erroneous to most people, and this is where the term coincidence comes from. Statistically, there is a high degree of correlation between worldwide non-commercial space launches and sociology doctorates awarded. Those are the two things. Those are two independent variables, worldwide non-commercial space launches and sociology doctorates awarded. The two appear to have nothing to do with each other, and yet they have a high degree of correlation. They have a 79% correlation between 1997 and 2009. That’s the data. As more worldwide non-commercial space launches occur, so do sociological doctors awarded. They go up. As less worldwide non-commercial space launches happen in the world, sociological doctorates awarded go down. They are correlated to a 79%.
How about the per capita cheese consumption and the number of people who die by becoming tangled in their bed sheets? My brothers, it is 94% correlation between the year 2000 and the year 2009. Would it surprise you to know that there is a 95% correlation between the math doctorates awarded, doctorates in mathematics awarded, and the amount of uranium stored at US nuclear power plants between 1996 and 2008? Would that surprise you that as the number of mathematical doctorates, PhDs in mathematics go up, so does the amount of uranium stored in US nuclear power plants? Here’s the catch. As the number of mathematics doctorates go down, so does the amount of uranium stored in US nuclear power plants.
Now, that would surprise me. 95% correlation, that would surprise me. It almost seems like one causes the other because there’s a 95% chance correlation. The two seem to have nothing to do with each other, and yet they share a 95% match over 12 years of data collection. Yet it seems completely erroneous. One seems to completely have nothing to do with the other.
Now, the reason why this is bad news for people living in an unconscious state, I want you to understand. An unconscious state in this is the beta condition are those humans, those people who are not consciously making choices for themselves. They’re not deliberately making choices. They’re not critically thinking about what they believe or why they believe it. The reason why this is bad news for people living in the unconscious state is because many people living in their beta condition will believe that these correlations prove a causal relationship.
95% match over 12 years of data collection would seem that if we stopped awarding mathematical doctorates, we would also stop storing uranium in nuclear power plants because that is what people in their unconscious beta condition would believe to be a causal relationship. Moreover, they will insist that in order to increase or decrease the amount of one, we should all increase or decrease the amount of the other. Correlation is never causation, my friends, never ever, ever. Understanding the difference is so powerful for you in choosing to believe new things.
It is just as erroneous to believe that if we increase the number of sociology doctorates awarded that we will increase the number of worldwide non-commercial space launches as it is to believe that if we increase the amount of tax money we send to the education system that we will have better educated children. Yet the correlation of the latter is much lower than the correlation of the former, although people are continually voting over and over and over again to throw more money into the educational system, believing that we will have better education for our children.
Now, there is a bright side to this. I want you to understand this is not all bad news. This is good news for you. It’s good news for you as an alpha male. The good news for you as an alpha male is that you know the difference between correlation and causation and can use this concept to believe new things about yourself in the world because nearly everything is a correlation, which means that you have an incredible power of choice. You can choose to see what you are through the mold of what is, and this mold is pliable. It is plastic. It is constantly remolding into new form and new shape.
Remember, it is the beta condition that is rigid. The beta condition is locked in correlation as a form of causation. Causation or cause and effect is a process of natural law. It is unchangeable through human presence and observation. Gravity existed even when humans didn’t and gravity will be here even if humans no longer are. I mean, let’s be honest. Gravity’s going to be here. Electricity was here before humans and will remain long after. Electricity was here before we discovered electricity. It was here from the beginning of time. We discovered it and we use it to serve our existence, to serve our human experience, but it’s always been here. Thermodynamics wasn’t invented by man. It was here all along. These are natural laws.
The law of cause and effect, the law of mind and belief, these are also natural laws. Correlation is not rigid. For the beta condition to move correlation into causation, it becomes very, very rigid. When you understand that your beliefs come from a correlation, from two variables, not from a cause and effect relationship, you retain pliability. You retain the power to change. Correlation is simply a statistical analysis of two variables, and anyone can find a certain degree of correlation between any two things. As long as you recognize correlation is not causation in your life and behavior, you have the power to choose new beliefs.
Remember the thoughts that I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast. Remember I mentioned the thought that’s just the way I am, the thought I’m not good at this, the thought I’ve always had a hard time with so and so with such and such, and the dream killing, the thought I can’t do this. That is a thought. It’s not a fact. You can do anything you want to do. Even if you don’t believe you can, it’s only because you don’t believe you can. It’s still a thought, my friend. Now, these thoughts are turned into beliefs due, in part, to correlation.
You got a bicycle and you jumped on that bicycle for the first time. The first time you rode it, you were on it for two seconds, and then you toppled over. You got back on the bike. You said, “I can ride for more than 10 seconds or I could ride for more than 2 seconds.” You get back on and you ride for 10 seconds. Then you fall off and then you say, “I can go for longer. I can go for more than 10 seconds.” So you get back on and you rode for a minute. Over the course of these three attempts, what you recognize is like, “If I can do it for 2 seconds, for 10 seconds, for 60 seconds, then all of a sudden there’s this thought.” If I am good at something, I will learn it after three attempts.
Now, brother, you can insert anything you want in here for this thought. You could say, “If I’m good at something, I will learn it after 10 attempts or I will learn it in a day or I will learn it in a week.” But whatever it is, what you’ve done is you have a correlation. You’ve accepted as a truth. For you to be good at something, for you to have learned, and I say learned as sort of a vague description of a desired outcome. To say I’ve learned something is basically just to say you’ve arrived at a desired outcome, whatever that is for you, to say that you’ve learned something within a certain time frame or certain number of attempts.
If you haven’t done that, then you aren’t good at it. Now, the thought becomes I’m just not good at that. Now, it becomes a belief based on correlation, not causation. This begins the personal beta conditioning. This begins your training of how you see yourself through unconscious beta conditioning. I’m not going to go into the collective and global beta conditioning in this episode. However, I promise you, brother, I will get into that. That’s going to be a really exciting podcast episode.
Correlation begins here. Then confirmation bias takes over. Now that you have this belief, your brain scans for the evidence to support it among the results that are neutral for interpretation and yet appear to you to be 100% proof for the beliefs you already have. You’re going to try to take playing a new sport. Say soccer or basketball. If you don’t learn the sport as quickly as you learn to ride a bicycle, your brain uses that as a confirmation bias for the thought, “I’m not good at that.”
Then you’ll give up. You’ll give up on soccer. You’ll give up at baseball, even if you love playing baseball. If you say, “I want to be a baseball player. I want to be a basketball player. I want to be a soccer player when I grow up,” if you don’t learn it as fast you learn how to ride a bike and it doesn’t fit into the correlation of the thought that was created in your beta condition, then you’re just going to tell yourself, “I’m not good at it,” and you’ll give up.
Later on, you’ll go to school and you’ll want to learn to paint. You want to be an artist or you want to learn to study history and maybe you have it in your bones. Deep in your bones, in your heart, you say, “I want to be an artist or I want to be a historian.” But once again, you don’t learn it in the way that your brain has correlated your ability to learn. You say, “If I am good at something, I will learn it in 10 attempts. I will learn it in a week.” So you believe, “I’m not good at it.” Once this thought is wrapped into your brain, you find all the evidence you can to support it.
You miss that shot playing basketball and your brain says, “See. You’re not good at playing basketball.” You get a C in history class and your brain says, “See. I’m not good at learning history. It’s just not my thing.” Even though you might love it, even though you might want to be an artist or you might want to be a historian, and you might want to be a basketball player, your brain tells you that you’re not good at it and will constantly find evidence for that lie.
Confirmation bias is not proof or evidence of what is a fact. In fact, in reality there are very few things that are facts, my friend. All the fact checkers out there on Facebook or whatever they’re doing during polls or whatever, it’s like they’re only delivering confirmation bias for how they see the world. The Interweb is not a source of facts or information. It is a confirmation bias machine. You can find anything you want on the Internet. You can find the information that will support what you believe and you can also find the information that will disprove what you believe. It’s all there because beliefs aren’t facts. The Internet is a collective of all the beliefs in the world. If someone believes it, you can find it on the Internet. It will always be a confirmation bias machine.
Remember the farmer and his cows. Remember the analogy I used earlier in this podcast. When the farmer puts his cows in the barn at night, he finds confirmation bias for why the moonlight gets them pregnant because they’re not in the moonlight. The cows are in the barn. Now, he thinks it’s because they’re not in the moonlight. But it’s not because they’re not in the moonlight that it doesn’t get them pregnant. It’s because the bulls can’t get to them. That’s the correlation that started him with putting the cows in the barn. Let’s keep them out of the moonlight, so they don’t get pregnant. Then the reason they don’t get pregnant is because they’re in the barn, even though the real reason is because the bulls can’t get in there. But he’s found confirmation bias for why the belief he has that started with correlation is true. For the farmer, all he sees is evidence for why the moonlight is the cause of the pregnancy.
Now, for the sake of time, I’m going to pick up with more confirmation bias next week. I want to talk about this and I want confirmation bias to really have an episode of its own because I want to go into what you can do. As an alpha, what do you do to step away from correlation and really pay attention to causation? First, determine what it is you believe. Not what is a fact because what you believe is probably not a fact. You have to separate your beliefs from the facts. You have to bring your unconscious beliefs to consciousness so that you can observe them as beliefs. As long as they are unconscious, you will think they are facts because you have correlated to something else, and then you’ve used confirmation bias to continually prove them so much so that your brain has wired them down into an automatic unconscious belief.
So much of this work begins right here, brothers. So much of this work begins with elevating your unconscious to a conscious place. The first barrier to changing your beliefs is knowing what it is that you currently believe and knowing that those beliefs are beliefs and not facts. If you are thinking thoughts like, “I’m not good at this,” like, “I’m not good at organizing,” or, “I’m not good at staying on a calendar,” or, “I’m not good at running a business,” or, “I’m not good at talking to people,” or even, “I’m not good at talking to women,” then it’s going to be really hard for you to change that, those thoughts if you have allowed those thoughts to settle into the realm of unconscious belief, which is essentially for you an automated realm of fact.
This is the bulk of the initial work that I do with my students. I ask them over and over, “Is that a thought or a fact?” I will ask that question and reinforce the truth because it is always a thought. Facts make up a tiny percentage of a fraction of a percentage of what we understand and call reality. Until you can separate your thoughts from the facts, you will always think your beliefs are facts, so you must identify the beliefs first.
Next, you will use the law of cause and effect to see how your beliefs are the cause and your results are the effect. This is the universal truth. The only causal relationship that exists with your thoughts are how they create your results. There is no cause for any thought you choose other than the correlation you’ve drawn from the assumptions made in your past, which has led to your beta condition. Most of which is unconscious. In other words, causation exists in the natural law of cause and effect, while correlation lies in the realm of how your thoughts are chosen unconsciously and then determined by your brain to be a fact through comfort and familiarity.
The undoing of this process is the operation of the process in reverse. First, uproot the thoughts from the soil effect. Then remove the correlation by determining how the cause is creating the effect. Your ability to enter into and remain in an alpha state is determined by how well you can separate thoughts from facts and then choose to accept and believe the thoughts that serve your desired results. What desired results are those? That is up to you, my friend. That is up to you to decide. The concept of correlation versus causation is to help you understand that when you have two random variables that appear together, it doesn’t mean that one is the cause of the other, and most often there is no causal relationship.
This is how most of our belief systems are formed. We correlate two unrelated variables and make them mean that one determines the other. The simple truth is I can correlate almost any two random variables to some degree, at least enough to begin to show confirmation bias which is what we’re going to get into next week. The most important thing for you to know as an alpha male is that the only causal relationship that exists are in natural laws. Everything else is a correlation that depending on the general unconscious society run by the beta condition will vary from erroneous to coincident, to conjecture, to hypothesis, and even mingle among the realm of belief and fact, depending on the level and majority of acceptance.
Because after all, I’m going to say this again, the correlation between the number of letters in the winning word of Scripps National Spelling Bee and the number of people killed annually by venomous spiders may be at 80%, and yet considered coincidence at best and erroneous by most. However, most people may hold a strong belief and maybe even borderline call it fact that in order to increase well-being and reduce poverty, we need to increase the federal minimum wage, although the correlation between the two variables is well below 80%. The statistical correlation is lower. Yet the level of societal acceptance is higher.
To make the move from unconscious beta to the deliberate alpha, you must know the difference between an erroneous correlation and an actual causal relationship. Ask yourself, does A cause B. Is B the effect of A? Or do A and B simply appear together and through the use of repetition and acceptance have I mistaken a thought for a fact? Have I mistaken a correlation for a causation?
That’s what I got for you guys today. Be here next week when I pick up where I am leaving off, and I will get into more of confirmation bias and how you can use confirmation bias to your advantage to create new beliefs, even though it can be and often is another barrier to believing new things. Until then, my friends, elevate your alpha.
[END OF EPISODE]
[00:25:35] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for listening to this episode of The Alpha Male Coach Podcast. If you have enjoyed what you’ve heard and want even more, sign up for Unleash Your Alpha, your guide to shifting to the alpha mindset at thealphamalecoach.com/unleash.