We are biased beings - notes on the “...seeing my car..." post
I’ve gotten great feedback on my last post/article “Why am I suddenly seeing my new car on every corner?” and I will address them in this post as I think some of you have taken just a part of the information I was conveying...
The goal of that last article was quite simple and I want to be sure that everyone grasps the fundamental concepts of it and why I try to write articles that bring us closer to understanding. But one side note first.
In general I feel we learn many things in life, through family, school, work, friends and relationships, but I do find that we forget or are not inclined to understanding what we’ve learned.
I find understanding is one of the fundamental differences between everyday people and successful individuals. People that fight and reach for their goals not only learn new things or participate in new activities, but they are able to go much deeper into knowledge as they not only focus on learning, but truly understanding why this works and why this doesn’t. And that’s that one of my focus with boomseb.
We get it, but do we really understand it?
I want to give you references, thoughts and ideas about being better and more confident which in the end will give you a happier life in general. When you’re not only aware but understand your goals, it seems as if the road ahead becomes much clearer, much simpler. In her domain, my girlfriend calls this “finding the persona”.
So back to the last post... What I wrote about was somewhat very positive as my point was to make you aware and confirm that people are extremely biased.
But this can quickly become a double edge sword as we don’t only focus on positive situations, new learnings or things that surround us, but we also can become very negative about or around those.
Let me explain.
Once you understand that our biased views are very powerful, you must also grasp that the same rule applies for “negative” situations, views and so on. Frequency bias isn’t only for the good things around us but also for the bad that surrounds us.
When we get into our lives with a negative view of the world, we sometime truly become and breath negative biased information and we just start seeing more and more of it.
The other night while I was in bed with my girlfriend, we talked about her day and how she felt a bunch of little things didn’t go right. Around that time, she drops some tea on her... You can imagine the simplicity of the situation... “OK, this is a bad day.” So I started laughing out of understanding.
Now this is a very simple observation and view of things but it just shows how we’re built as humans. I’m the same, we’re all the same and if we don’t take care of our thoughts it is very easy for us to play it both ways. The outcome of a bad isn’t the end of the world, but if we generally focus on such negative elements (big or small) and we keep repeating the same, we’ll fall for it - humans are creatures of habits.
Now I’m not saying positive thoughts will upstage everything in your life, as we do have really have bad days sometimes. But what I’m saying though is that you should focus more on the positive, creative and fun, than the negative.
Once you open the door to negative components and reflect on all that’s happened, you’re just bound to make it even clearer than it really is. This is one of the reasons why I gradually stopped listening to the news in general.
Years ago I used to be that person who continuously read and listen to news reports on TV and the web, and at some it dawned on me “most of the material presented on there is negative!” Not only that, it was repetitive and just lacked a general positive view of the world and humans in general.
It’s at that point I understood I needed not only to learn about my biased views, preconceptions and so on, but start focusing more on the positive elements of my life, the world and develop better critical thinking for myself and the people that surrounded me (humm, that will be a great post come to think of it).
To link the current post idea, a comment was made on boomseb’s Instagram account, saying that we also try to find people with the same passions as us.
The reader clearly understood the goal of my post. When you start using a biased view for the positive, the strong, the creation of value and so on, you’ll suddenly start finding it around you. People that you’ve recently talked to or interacted with will suddenly disappear or reappear in a different light.
You’ll become much more sensitive to who you want to be around with, the projects that you feel have more value, the tasks that will ultimately give you a more productive day.
On that note, being productive is in direct relation to my point. Why do we feel that some days we’re feeling so much more productive, better, smarter or just in a good vibe? Well, it’s usually that on that day, and sometimes without even knowing it, you focused on things that made a difference. Tasks that we’re more in tune with yourself, your goals, your mission, your projects.
And so once you profoundly understand how humans are biased to frequency, repetition and many other subjects, I’m sure you’ll start identifying new elements to add in your daily routine and other elements that you should most differently remove or at least minimize.
As our modern days can become crazy sometimes, I’ve found that removing elements I don’t value from my tasks, responsibilities and life in general is one of the most powerful actions I can do. To that point, learning to say no at the right moment is a godsend, personally and professionally.
Finally, once you’ve identified those “negative” aspects and remove them, you’ll naturally move into more positive tasks and responsibilities, views and in time... outcome!
Learning to focused on positive elements is such a core competency that it should be taught in schools at a very young age. It is fundamental to our success and view of ourselves. Whether it’s more time, money, friends, projects or whatever floats your boat!
Bottom line, focus on positive bias recognition and you’ll increase your power ten folds.
Note: here’s a wiki page that lists many cognitive biases and concepts - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases. You should definitely go through them and the list and clearly identify the ones that you seem more sensitive to or more inclined to. It’s of great help to get a better grasp of our being...