Listen to this episode of The Daily Kind on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Audible, Stitcher, Overcast, or on your podcast platform of choice.

Welcome to The Daily Kind, where we help you stay inspired to raise humans ready for anything.

I'm Kirk Wheeler. It's March 26th, 2021. I'm so glad you're here.

Have you ever tried to bluff someone in a card game? It can be both surprisingly easy and surprisingly hard to do at the same time. One moment you feel like you should sell all your belongings and move to Vegas and start your new life as a professional poker player. And the next you're wondering, "why has no one told me I'm so bad at this?", surely someone would have said something, but what if the problem isn't you? What if the soil of truth in this case belongs with the other people you're playing with.

“Humans are startlingly bad at detecting fraud. Even when we're on the lookout for signs of deception, studies show, our accuracy is hardly better than chance.” -Maria Konnikova

High stakes poker is something I have largely stayed away from. I have a few friends who've gone to Vegas and played in some mid tier games, but that's just not a world I participate in. Not that it doesn't sound super fun. My wife and I used to have a group of friends who got together and played with pocket change. The ante was a nickel, and when I think back on it, now, one of the best parts of the game was trying to bluff someone. Why do we get satisfaction from thinking that we have pulled something over on someone? I know there's lots of speculation around this, and I'm sure that in the past, there was some evolutionary pressure that made deception something worth trying to get moderately good at.

But the fact is, while we may think we're good at it, and no doubt some people are, most of us are actually very bad at knowing when someone is trying to deceive us. Still, we'd like to think we're pretty good at it. And when it comes to the humans, we're raising, we do tend to believe that we would be able to tell when they're trying to pull on over on us. From my vantage point, my wife appears to be extremely good at this, and I might as well flip a coin, yet study after study has shown that we're really no better than chance at playing this very human game.

It's one of the reasons that we tend to trust people more than we should. Since cooperation is needed for many of the activities we engage in, it tends to be in our own best interest to trust people, even when we might end up being wrong. There's too much cognitive overhead in trying to get really good at something that has proven time and time again, hard to get good at.

So what's the takeaway? (VO: I wish you would take away the last card and the flop. I can't do anything with it.)

How can you help the humans you are raising know that most likely they're not going to be much better than chance when they're trying to know when someone is trying to deceive them? You can help them default to trusting people. The few times that someone will really let them down will more than likely be made up for by the number of times someone they have trusted comes through. And even if the odds don't quite work out. I know for myself, I would rather believe in people and be let down, than go through life as a cynic who thinks everyone is trying to bluff them.

I hope you find this helpful. Be sure to take care of yourself today, hydrate. And remember, there is no perpetual parenting playbook. We're all learning as we go. And with curiosity as our map and the willingness to be bluffed, we can be ready for anything. So good luck. You've got this. I'm rooting for you.

With gratitude,