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Our brains have an uncanny ability to discard logic. I’ve seen this ability on full display around the idea of receiving something for nothing. For instance, I recently read that 53% of Americans buy lottery tickets. From my vantage point, the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math. Or rather, it is a tax on those who allow their minds to disregard logic so that a distant dream may live (and by distant, we are speaking of 175 million to 1).

Now we can all chuckle at that, and yet this same principle impacts all of us every day.


Economists, cognitive psychologists and marketers for years have exploited the idea that when our brain sees something for sale for $29.99, we immediately associate that with an item that costs closer to twenty dollars than thirty. Now, should we spend even 3 seconds considering that, we know it’s not true.  But “truth” is rarely to be found in our minds when we want something badly.


This post on its own may not change the world or the way that our lizard brains want us to think. But it may cause a few of us to be that much more aware of what we are doing when we are doing it. If you have doubt about all of this, get a calculator and subtract 99 from 100. You will note that it is a remarkably little number.