HWH Group | A word from Teacher Huang


During the Second World War, air combat was very frequent, so the demand for fighter pilots was high, but the training of pilots was very difficult. Therefore, each country continuously improved and strengthened the protection devices for pilots inside the aircraft. This reduces the pilots get injury.
Therefore, the U.S. military conducted statistics on the bullet holes hit by the surviving aircraft to evaluate which part of the aircraft should be reinforced. From the statistics of the fighters we found that the rear wing and wing of the fighter had more bullet holes, while the cockpit or engine had relatively few bullet holes. Therefore, the U.S. military commander proposed that the rear wing or wing with more bullet holes should be install protected because they have a high chance of being shot.
It seems very reasonable to do so, because like buying insurance, high-risk events or personnel insurance premiums will be higher, but the Columbia University Statistics Professor Abraham Ward raised an objection, he said:

  1. The statistical sample only includes fighters that have not crashed due to shooting and returned safely, so they are not comprehensive enough.
  2. The reason why the engine has fewer bullet holes is not that it is not easy to be shot, but that once it is hit, the possibility of it returning safely and surviving is very little.
  3. Therefore, Professor Ward believes that all the bullet holes of a fighter aircraft should be evenly distributed throughout the fuselage, and for a fighter that can return home safely, the area with a large number of bombs on the fuselage is less likely to be hit even if it is hit. The part that will cause the crash

Conclusion: So we should strengthen the cockpit and engine protection.

The content of the above two inferences is the famous survivorship bias. Because of over-focusing on people and things that "survived certain experiences" and ignoring people and things that have not survived (maybe because they cannot be observed), wrong judgments are caused.

When using it in our life, do we often make such mistakes? For example, students always like to mention to me in class what they want to do in the future. Many of them choose online auctions and Internet celebrities (make money by traffic), because the income of these online auctions or online celebrities is really enviable. For example, at certain direct selling conferences, the industry always emphasizes how amazing the income of diamond-level managers is; or many books always explain the achievements of successful people, and then list many successful traits for everyone to learn and so on. But have we ever thought about it? The results we have seen are only survivors, and those who have not succeeded may be countless.

The dead cannot speak, and those who fail will not make known; therefore, to make correct judgments, we should pay more attention to those who are unsuccessful and the reasons for their failure. We should keep the theory "survivor deviation" in to our heart. , Learn to see the side of the non-survivors, so that you can truly understand them all.

So no matter what you do, don’t just envy the good of others, but also see the suffering of others; not only look at successful examples, but also look at failed cases. In this way, students can analyze affairs more rationally and even make right decisions.