Your Comfort Zone

When I teach hypothesis testing in statistics, I often introduce it using a courtroom scenario. Ideally, the courtroom, jurors, lawyers, and judges would all work in such a way that the probability of convicting an innocent person (\alpha) and the probability of letting a guilty person go free (\beta) would both be equally small.
The important thing to understand is that they are indirectly related. You cannot make both of them be as small as you would like. If you decrease one, the other increases, and vice versa. So, you need to find a compromise, or a “comfort zone”.
I’m all about improving myself and following my own personal philosophy, whether that be fueling my passions, focusing on my health or personal growth, developing relationships, or contributing to society. What I have noticed, however, is that the more time you give to one, that can mean the less time for another. Where is that comfort zone?
Let’s use health as an example. To rank your happiness and/or comfort in each category, we’ll use a 0-1 scale. Suppose you set out to lose 20 pounds a while ago because that’s what you thought needed done. You were at a 0.5 on the happiness scale and knew that losing 20 pounds would put you at a 1.
In this setting, let’s make the \alpha level the compliment of your health happiness level. So, it is currently at 0.5 and you want to decrease that down to 0 by losing 20 pounds.
Suppose you have lost 10 pounds, are halfway there, but are at somewhat of a plateau. Even though you are only halfway to your goal, you notice your happiness scale has increased more than halfway to 0.90 (you’ve decreased your \alpha level down to 0.10). But you also notice something odd. Your relationships’ happiness/comfort scale has decreased. It used to be at 0.99 and has now come down to 0.90 (that is, your \beta has increased to 0.10 from 0.01).
Perhaps you used to socialize with certain people that went out for Mexican food every week. Because of this new health kick you’re on, you had to cut that back to once a month.
Balance. We forget about this sometimes, and find ourselves running back and forth on a five-way teeter-totter (if you can imagine such a thing). When we’re feeling great about one thing in our lives, and down about another. we run over to that side.
Maybe we should realize we shouldn’t try and get to 1, and that in order to achieve a nice balance in our lives, we should embrace the comfort of 0.9. In other words, we don’t need amps that go to 11.

2 thoughts on “Your Comfort Zone

  1. Absolutely. Can't max everything out all the time. If I'm practicing a lot of trumpet to prepare for a performance or a recording session, I might notice a decrease in exercise or reading, and I've got to either be okay with the situation or change it.

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