Jack of Clubs

Take a moment to imagine you are in the audience at a small, intimate theatre, watching a magic show. The magician hands a deck of cards to a random member of the audience, asks her to check that it’s an ordinary pack and give the cards a shuffle. The magician then turns to another member of the audience and asks him to name a card at random.

“Jack of Clubs,” he says.

 The magician covers his eyes, takes the deck of cards, and after some fumbling around he pulls out a card.

 What is the probability of the card being the Jack of Clubs?

Depending on your knowledge of cards, you probably already have an answer. Is your answer one in fifty-two on account that there are 52 cards in an ordinary deck?

That might be one answer. Keep thinking.

What happens in life when we a challenge is posed of us? We look at what we know and we make a few assumptions and presto, we have an answer. But did we consider all the available information?

Had you forgotten that it was a magician pulling out the card. That could make a difference. If you were at a theatre and the magician on stage was performing wouldn’t you expect him to pull the Jack of Clubs? In fact you’d probably say he would have an almost 100% likelihood that he would pull the Jack of Clubs. The magician wouldn’t be in business for long if his tricks didn’t work!

Are they the only two answers? 1-in-52 or 100%?

What about that there was no chance it was the Jack of Clubs because the card was in the pocket of the lady who shuffled the deck?

Perhaps the magician pulls a ten dollar bill from his pocket and “Jack of Clubs” is written on it with a marker pen.

Maybe the magician isn’t really that good and botched the trick!

The reality is that there is no correct answer to this problem, but what’s interesting is it makes you think about the other possibilities, rather than just the obvious one or perhaps two answers.

The funny thing though, is that the answer 1-in-52 is actually probably the least likely to be the correct answer. Magicians don’t rely on luck or probability to perform their tricks. Or else they wouldn’t be called magicians, they would be called unemployed!

The opportunity here is to realize that the more we think about a problem or challenge the more options arise. Sometimes the obvious answer is incorrect and assumptions can be very dangerous!

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This entry was posted in 7 Criteria, Be Inspired, Inspiration, Intelligent, Questions About Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Jack of Clubs

  1. Instinctively Said says:

    Yes, the power of pause. Your thoughts lead me to think about how pausing, being mindful if you will, takes more out of us than we would really like. Society as a whole is riddled with clicks of mouses and taps of keys. We don’t even have the time to talk to each other one at a time anymore, we have “conference” calls to talk to several, even 30 40 50 people at one time. Go go go go go. Pausing to consider options, for some, may just be like trying to pull the e-brake on a car speeding out of control. Leaving assumptions to be the very best options they may ever have.

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