(or) You’re Going to Use One Anyway, But At Least Be Smart About It
I’m going to reveal a powerful secret that could make you millions. Believe it or not, this secret will also help you decide how much, if at all, you should use your cell phone. I’ll get to the secret in a bit but my main point is that in poker and in life, we have to make decisions with incomplete information. We’re so accustomed, from school, to think that there is a right answer that we go through searching for the answer key. What we need to do, instead, is hone our ability to make decisions.
Doyle Brunson has been one of the best poker players in the world for fifty years. He has the ability to process dozens of variables at once (the odds, the cards, your expressions, and patterns from past hands, just for starters) and once he does, he acts decisively. Even with all Brunson’s gifts, he is often wrong. He has made tens of millions of dollars because he makes the best decisions he can given the information available—which is never complete. His longevity stems from the fact that even though he’s not always right, he manages his downside so he has enough of a bankroll left to play the next hand.
As for the decision on using a cell phone, rather than try to find the answer, I use the same methodology that Doyle uses when playing a poker hand. I start by gathering information. I weigh all those variables using inexact science to make a decision. I don’t go looking for the person who has the answer, since I know that person doesn’t exist. Everyone has a bias and while I trust some more than others, information from any one person or source is only one variable.
Here’s a partial list of the information I’ve discovered:
- There is a lot of research showing that cell phone use can cause tumors, brain damage, Alzheimer’s, DNA damage, and kill sperm.
- A cell phone is so convenient that it’s difficult to live without it.
- Much of the research claiming cell phones are benign comes from the cell phone industry. In short, there is huge profit motive and massive resources behind convincing folks that cell phones aren’t harmful.
- Holding microwaves up to my brain seems like a bad idea.
- Cell phones haven’t been around long enough to know the dangers, but those who have been using them the longest have a higher incidence of brain tumors.
- The European Environment Agency warned that cell-phone technology “could lead to a health crisis similar to those caused by asbestos, smoking, and lead in petrol.”
- By taking precautions, I have little to lose if they turn out to be harmless. If, however, I use indiscriminately, I have everything to lose if they turn out to be toxic.
My belief is that cell phones are dangerous. I can’t quantify to what degree, but I don’t feel like I need to. And while the world seemed to spin before they existed, they do make my life easier. George Orwell might as well have been describing cell phones when he wrote: “Like a drug, the machine is useful, dangerous and habit-forming. The oftener one surrenders to it the tighter its grip becomes.”
I view the use of a cell phone similar to the decision to drive a car. I know it’s bad for the environment, but I don’t know how bad. The benefits are too great to give it up entirely, but I can minimize the impact by driving less, using publication transportation when possible, and owning a fuel-efficient car.
When I put all these variables together, it allows me to act decisively. My choice, therefore, is to have a cell phone and use it sparingly, within these parameters.
- I keep it off most of the time.
- I text instead of call whenever possible.
- I happily pay for a land line so I keep my cell phone calls short.
- I never keep it near my groin when it’s turned on.
- I use a basic phone rather than an advanced PDA.
- I use an EMF (electromagnetic fields) protection device. This certainly could be a racket, but it’s an inexpensive form of insurance.
- I use speaker phone when I can and keep it away from my brain.
(Research on both traditional headsets and Bluetooth reveals conflicting stories. Some research shows that it may even be worse. See below for links).
By sticking to these parameters, I enjoy the convenience of having a cell phone and manage my downside.
So what’s the secret for being right all the time?
Sorry to disappoint you, but there isn’t one. The secret to making good decisions is that there’s no secret and there’s no answer key. If, however, you learn to think like a poker player, you’ll be on your way to becoming a shrewd decision-maker. Keep honing that skill like Doyle has and whether it’s poker or another endeavor, you’ll be right often enough to make millions. Just make sure to manage your downside (and your cell phone use) so you can play the next hand.
My column was inspired by Christopher Ketcham’s article in GQ: Warning: Your Cell Phone May Be Hazardous to Your Health. I even ripped off the Orwell quote from him.
From the King Institute Inc. regarding Bluetooth technology: “What few people really understand is that, energetically speaking, a Bluetooth headset is not really much better than keeping the phone receiver to the ear.”
On the other hand, according to Hello Direct: “Using a Bluetooth headset actually lowers radiation exposure, In addition, having the back side of the phone face away from the body when using a Bluetooth headset further reduces radiation exposure.
There’s an iPhone case developed by a company called Pong Research. They claim it works by redirecting the radiation coming in and out of the antenna up and away from your headspace.