If you often take compounding coincidences for fate, you’re most likely ignoring random chance. If you step back and take a look at the possibility fate could simply be random, chances are you’ll find that it is.
Photo by The Advice Sisters
David McRaney of You Are Not So Smart explains the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy:
When you desire meaning, when you want [coincidences]to line up, you forget about stochasticity. You are lulled by the signal. You forget about noise. With meaning, you overlook randomness, but meaning is a human construction. You have just committed the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy.
The fallacy gets its name from imagining a cowboy shooting at a barn. Over time, the side of the barn becomes riddled with holes. In some places there are lots of them, in others there are few. If the cowboy later paints a bullseye over a spot where his bullet holes clustered together it looks like he is pretty good with a gun.
If you have a human brain, you do this all of the time. Picking out clusters of coincidence is a predictable malfunction of normal human logic.
Next time coincidences seem to point to an undeniable truth, step back a moment and consider that you’re ignoring the noise and assigning meaning that doesn’t exist. If you’re not careful, you could come across as pretty crazy.
The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy [You Are Not So Smart]