Accuracy vs. Helpfulness
Yesterday I got an inquiry about a Tarot reading and the potential client asked me, “How accurate are you?” I’ve been asked this before, of course, but this time the client and I got into a long discussion on the topic of accuracy versus helpfulness, and that conversation inspired me to write a blog post about the topic.
First of all, the important question isn’t “How accurate are you?” but “How helpful are you?” Let’s say I tell someone, “You have a black Labrador Retriever named Rex,” and they say, “Oooooooooooooh. How could you have known that?” And they’re so impressed, but didn’t they already know that? So is this helpful? Yes, that sort of thing (which, from what I’ve seen of the world, is rather rare, but I do have something like that happen now and then) may give the person confidence in the reader. But still, in the end, it’s the helpfulness of the reading that matters.
Here’s an analogy, relevant to my prospective client’s specific questions, which were about if I was going to be able to tell him when a specific opportunity would arise in his life. (Please keep in mind that this is only an analogy.)
Say you are sitting at a bus stop and you ask someone when the next bus will come by. And, of course, you want an accurate answer. Let’s say I tell you the next bus is at 2:35 pm. The problem is this: is that accurate answer also helpful? And how necessary is it to have such an accurate answer anyway?
There is an assumption in the question that there is only one bus coming along so if you miss it, you’re screwed. But the Universe is not that nasty. There is a bus every 20 minutes, and opportunity does not only knock once. But okay, now let’s say the bus does show up at 2:35 (more or less). Do you know if it’s the right bus? You didn’t ask about that. How much is the fare and do you have that money in your pocket? You didn’t ask about that and you didn’t check your pockets. And are you ready to get up and board the bus? You didn’t talk about that either. Yes, I know. Pretty much everyone can get on a bus, but this is an analogy. Not everyone is ready to take the opportunities that come their way.
So a helpful reading will work with you to make sure you know where you’re going and you’re prepared to take the opportunities that come your way. But many people merely want to know when that opportunity is going to come, as if there will be just one.
Getting back to the client’s first question, I know there are some readers who will give an answer like “I’m 90% accurate” … I’m not sure how they’ve arrived at that number though. (If any of you do give an accuracy estimate of that sort and can tell me how you get that number, I honestly would be interested to hear about it.) In fact, I know a numerologist who always says “I am NEVER wrong.” (She’s the only perfect person I know, I guess.)
What I say is that people find my readings to be helpful. They say things like:
My shrink has been telling me that for years. (I guess it helps to hear it from another source too.)
Thank you. Now I feel like I can deal with these problems. (This is probably my favorite response.)
That makes me feel better because it confirms what I suspected. (This is not the same as telling people factoids they already know. Confirmation of suspicions can help people have more confidence or it can show them that they aren’t crazy for thinking this.)
But I would love to say something like, “I’m 97.3857% accurate … and as you can see, I’m extremely precise as well.” But I won’t. I know I’ll have to continue to discuss this whole accuracy versus helpfulness topic with people because it’s an important issue, and I know it’s not going away. I’m 100% sure of that.
Perhaps I should also mention that asking someone to rate themselves is rather strange too. You can ask what a person’s readings are like, but if you ask something like “How good are you?” you have to take the answer with a grain of salt. It reminds me of an old joke:
I used to think that my brain was the most amazing organ of the body, but then I thought, Hey wait a minute. Look who’s telling me that!