The importance of focusing on the similarities

When we look at situations, we prefer to look for what is distinct. Instead, we should pay attention to the similarities.

The four words "this time is different" makes us incorrectly think that differences are more valuable than similarities. When your reasoning and plans are based on the differences, you are probably speculating.

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Problem Solving

When we focus on the differences, we lose touch with the evidence that the similarities point out. The history of a matter provides context.

  • Consider investors and the dotcom bubble. People saw it as unique. We reasoned that everything would change, and everyone who owned internet companies would prosper. Suddenly profits didn't matter, nor revenue. We thought it would come in time. Market share mattered regardless of the cost to acquire it.
  • We got caught up in the differences and forgot to look at what was the same. Had we looked at the massively transformational industries, such as automobiles, we would've seen that of all the 70 different auto manufacturing operations in the United States, only 3 survived.

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