Hey there! How’s your day been so far?
Today, I’d like to look at our natural bias to seek information that affirm and substantiate our beliefs and assumptions: the lovely confirmation bias.
At first sight, this bias might seem nice, warm and cuddly. It deceives us with the idea of what we know is true. It pretends to help us to understand what should be expected in certain situations or from certain people. Our brains love to feel safe like that because it means there is no (dangerous) surprises.
However, this bias keeps us from expecting more of ourselves and others, it can make our lives feel dull and sad. It can keep you from connecting with others in a meaningful way because you overlook their smile and kind gestures. It hinders coming up with new ideas or going on paths no-one tried before. You skip over a suggestion because “it would never work”. You could end up in a downward spiral of boredom and no progress.
But wait! Since you became aware about the bias by reading this article, you could as well try to use the bias in a way that serves you and your goals. And you can push against it.
1) Use the bias to create new expectations. Push what you want by assuming and expecting it to be or become true. Mostly, before something happens there is no way of fully knowing how things are going to turn out. So why not expecting the best possible outcome? An outcome that is much bigger than what you would normally expect? Think big and then bigger – make the outcome ridiculously huge :).
2) A way to overcome the bias is an approach used in science. If a scientist wants to understand if their idea/hypothesis is going into the right direction they run experiments to show that it is actually wrong. So, why don’t you “play” scientist and take one of your assumptions and experiment with it? Think of different ways on proving that the assumption is wrong and see what happens.
In the end, these techniques can help you to push forward to create the (work-) life you would want. These can help you to be more content with yourself, your life, your relationships as well as the ideas you bring to life and the things you provide.