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Confirmation Bias and Making Life Choices

Confirmation bias

Confirmation bias

Is the human tendency to seek, interpret and remember information that confirms pre-existing beliefs. 

It affects every choice you make and it all happens in the background without you noticing.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Overcoming hyperbolic discounting
  • Empathize with your future self: You put things off to future you because it’s easy to assume that future you has boundless energy and motivation. Unfortunately, that perfect visio...
Distinction bias

Is the tendency to over-value the effect of small quantitative differences when comparing options.

For example: we think a 1,200 square foot home will make us happier than a 1,000 squa...

Overcome distinction bias

  • Don’t compare options side by side: In comparison mode, we end up spending too much time playing “spot the difference.” Instead, evaluate each choice individually and on their own merit.
  • Know your “Must-Haves” before you look for something to buy: that way, you won't get suckered into features you don’t really need.
  • Optimize for things you can’t get used to: your happiness will adjust back to anything that is stable and certain like your income, the size of your house, or the quality of your TV.

Cognitive biases
Cognitive biases

...are common thinking errors that harm our rational decision-making.

We don't always see things as they are. We don't simply glean information through the senses and act on it; inste...

Optimism Bias

Is our tendency to overestimate the odds of our own success compared to other people's. 

Overly optimistic predictions can be dangerous, leading us to waste time and resources pursuing unrealistic goals. In the real world of business, things don't always work out for the best, and it serves us well to know when conditions are not on our side.

How to control the optimism bias
  • Be skeptical of your own rosy expectations for your work. 
  • Assume projects will be more difficult and more expensive than you initially think they will. 
  • Don't trust your good ideas to manifest through positive thinking - be ready to fight for them.
  • Trust the numbers. Numbers are firm but fair, and getting intimate with your business's cash flow can help you make more rational decisions.