Flip

February 19th 2019

Today I’ve been flipping a coin in my head all day. I’m doing trying to do this psychological trick that I once read about, and have utilised every time I’ve needed to make an important decision, where you assign each of the possible outcomes of your decision to heads or tails (assuming there are only two outcomes, that is) and flip a coin to decide.

How the coin lands is irrelevant, because as the coin is in the air you’ll know in your gut which side you wish to be facing up, thus making the decision for you. If you find yourself hoping it lands heads, or if you’re disappointed when the coin shows tails, then you know you wanted heads all along. That’s the idea, at least.

The problem I had today is that I’m twenty-five years old, so cash, and therefore coins, is a defunct form of currency to my millennial generation. Contactless or bust. I mean, I guess I could have flipped my debit card and tried to apply the same logical reasoning, but it doesn’t seem as poetic.

Instead, what I found myself doing, was using the =RAND() function on Microsoft Excel. Because, as I noted, I am a product of the digital revolution. The RAND function in Excel returns a random decimal between 0 and 1, with equal probability of the returned value being either less than 0.5, or greater than/equal to 0.5.

Basically, it’s a digitised version of a 50/50 coin flip. It has the same exact output, it just does it quicker. And that’s kind of the problem. With the coin flip, you have the split second while the coin is in mid-flight for your subconscious brain to decide a landing preference. With the RAND function, there is no split second. The result is instantaneous. And that leaves you with very little time for any subconscious thinking.

And so, with no physical coins, and a digital coin that left me little time for thought, I’m no closer to making a decision.

Until tomorrow, heads or tails?

Jacn

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