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Emotional Resilience through the Law of Large Numbers 📊

3things jordan myska allen personal growth relatefulness stayinlove Mar 21, 2024


“That's how the law of large numbers works: not by balancing out what’s already happened, but by diluting what’s already happened with new data, until the past is so proportionally negligible that it can be safely forgotten.” Jordan Ellenberg in How Not to Be Wrong.

I’m thinking this math theorem is a nice frame to apply to bad psychological experiences—wounds or trauma. Sometimes we don’t heal, we add new experiences until the past is proportionally negligible in our experience. Like with the feeling of grief — your identity gets bigger, rather than it going away.

I wouldn’t take the “safely forgotten” part of the quote too literally. When we embrace our past for how it shaped us, we come into a deeper alignment with being. We welcome whatever comes, as it comes. Pain and pleasure become equally beautiful, equally part of the human experience. We learn equanimity not as an avoidance of experience but a surrender into and as it.


With love, Jordan


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