Studying cognitive psychology helped me understand how easy it is to make bad decisions. Not because of laziness or lack of intelligence. But because of systematic biases that creep into our thinking. Here are four, highlighted by the Heath brothers in their book Decisive.
1 Confirmation Bias
We tend to seek out and spotlight only that information which confirms our existing beliefs. Instead, look for contrary evidence. Lease your beliefs, don’t own them.
Success is fertile soil in which overconfidence can take root. So remember, what made you successful in the past could kill you in the future.
3 Short-Term Emotions
In the heat of the moment, emotions – positive or negative – can overtake reason. A simple solution: never make a major decision when you’re emotionally piqued.
4 Narrow Framing
We typically consider only a narrow range of options. Encourage a wide-mouth funnel for inputting ideas before you narrow it by testing them.
None of us is as rational as we like to think. Recognize where rationality breaks down and work to counteract it. You won’t always be right but you can make better decisions. If you decide to.