Survivorship bias: when failure gets forgotten
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We tend to be interested in the success stories of many. We love the encouragement it provides us, but we often overlook the fact that most of these success stories have undergone through many failures.
Survivorship bias is when we concentrate on the people and the things that passed through a selection process and experienced a form of success. This process tends to overlook those who did not make it through and almost always leads to false conclusions.
When we ignore the logical error of the stories and advice we hear it deceives us into believing that past failures are not adequate enough to be considered.
This bias induces people to see correlation in sheer coincidences.
A great example is when the U.S. Military tried to reduce aircraft casualties back in WWII. They analyzed the planes that got back safely but never the ones that didn't. They concluded that they should increase armor in the wings and the tails of the planes, but not the engine.
We must remember that most people do not become rich and famous. Most leaps of faiths are miscalculated. This does not mean that we should stop trying, instead we should remain to have a realistic understanding of reality.
Most entrepreneurs don't actually know what they're doing. There isn't a lot of them who have a detailed or a perfected plan to follow. Still, we try to "copy" their ways so that we can probably achieve what they have achieved.
Most of the inspirational success stories we see give out advice like waking up at 5 AM in the morning or eating a well-balanced meal. Those are important, but we should not overlook those who were unsuccessful.
We should learn from their mistakes and be careful not to repeat it for ourselves. We need to find our own recipe for success. Lastly, we need to consider the role of luck in our lives because it is rare to stumble upon something valuable to increase our chances of success.
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"I think the next best thing to solving a problem is finding some humor in it." -Frank Howard Clark
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