On dealing with good and bad news

So I was having a rough time an hour or so back and called the wife, and told her so, and that I’d been stuck in this vicious circle of negativity for a while now. In response, she said there was this nice TED talk that she had seen on the topic recently, and I should watch it too. And so she sent me this:

It’s a nice TED talk, but I think she uses too many words to describe what she needs to describe. It’s just not “quick enough” (check out the wife’s blog post on distractions caused by professors being too slow in class. She only talked about the throughput of words here, but I think it’s deeper and extends to throughput of information content) and it doesn’t need ten minutes to communicate what she has said here.

And so I thought about how I could convey the message better. I realised that the entire talk above could be condensed into one little finite automaton. And then I drew it (using the Paintbrush App on my Mac).


I must say I’m feeling much better already! Tell me if this is a good representation, though!

3 thoughts on “On dealing with good and bad news”

  1. In my humble opinion representation is good but not complete, I think there should be one link from bad to good also – after all that was the message from the talk isn’t it?? I was also feeling very low today, very timely video for me as well. Thanks for sharing this – keep writing keep inspiring Good Luck!!!!

    1. Thinking about it we need a stochastic diagram to communicate what was said in the video. like when a good thing happens in bad state, a large proportion of the time you’ll just remain in the bad state, but with a small probability that you’ll move to the good state. Rest of the graph can remain the same.

  2. I actually had to see the full video to understand the flowchart. Must say the flowchart did not convey the ‘stickyness’ of the bad news and the need to reconsider the good news. Not a big fan of people explaining by analogies, in general but in her case it helped.
    ~long time reader of yours

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