Do you know that your brain makes mistakes, and you do not even know about it? Even while you are reading these lines, he makes mistakes. Yes, it's true. You are reading this correctly, but your brain is full of biases based on your past experiences.
And this applies not only to you, but to every person. We are like prisoners looking at the world through the bars of a prison cell, having long forgotten that this bars simply do not exist.
The fact is that our beliefs drive us into rigid frames, and prejudices distort perception. This leads to constant errors of judgment. And the worst thing is that we practically do not realize it.
But there is good news as well. It lies in the fact that we can understand the nature of errors if we regularly study our own way of thinking. Here are 7 mistakes you can deal with by being more attentive to yourself.
1. Avoiding discomfort is more important to us than fulfilling our dreams.
Have you ever had to watch a terrible movie in the theater just because you paid a lot of money for your ticket? I think so, and you are not alone. The truth is, in a situation like this, most people would rather be tormented by watching a disgusting movie than doing something nice. Why? Because we don't want our money to be wasted.
Science argues that our tendency to avoid danger - as opposed to our tendency to maximize opportunities - has given us a higher chance of survival in predator environments. And this trend has been passed down from generation to generation for an unimaginably long time.
We are programmed to minimize waste, not maximize opportunities. All without exception! But in the modern world, this need has disappeared. Some great entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs realized this and lived to their fullest.
The best way to deal with this problem is to ask yourself what you really want out of life. Just as Steve Jobs did it every morning in front of the mirror. That way, you will naturally strive for the things that matter to you and that give you the greatest chance of making your dreams come true.
2. We misjudge the odds.
Imagine you are tossing a coin. The probability of falling heads or tails is 50:50. Let's say heads are thrown 23 times in a row. Of course, the next time you flip a coin, it will be heads. Correctly?
Not! In fact, the probability does not change. It is still 50:50. The previous 23 heads have no effect on the likelihood of which side the coin hits next. But even knowing this, based on your past experience, you tend to expect an irrational result. Gamblers lose precisely because of this imperfection of our thinking.
But there is a simple solution: use an attention-based approach. This is what it is: a pause and a deep breath.
A deep breath cuts you off from irrational reasoning. A pause allows you to reconnect with your rational self. This creates a certain dimension of perception. Do this, and irrational thinking is far less likely to seduce you. Try it! I guarantee you will be impressed.
3. We convince ourselves that our bad decisions are good.
Have you ever tried to convince yourself that buying an extra pair of shoes that you absolutely don't need is not such a bad decision? If so, then you were under the influence of cognitive dissonance.
Cognitive dissonance occurs when you have two opposing ideas that you can't keep in mind at the same time. You want to think of yourself as a shrewd person who makes forward-thinking decisions, and the wrong decision does not fit that image at all. Thus, in order to align your decision with your self-esteem, you convince yourself that your decision was correct.
What is the best way to overcome cognitive dissonance? Knowing your tendency to rationalize wrong decisions, try to notice the moment when you try to do it again. Recognize that sometimes you make bad decisions (and that's okay - as long as you know it). Get rid of the idea of yourself as a discerning and reasonable person and allow yourself to be wrong.
Thus, with mindfulness, you replace your tendency to rationalize bad decisions with the ability to learn from them. Over time, your decision-making skills can only improve.
4. We pay more attention to information that is consistent with our beliefs.
Have you ever paid attention to what happens when you buy a new car? Suddenly, you start to notice many of the same cars on the road! This is due to the fact that your brain passively seeks information that confirms your reality.
Do you tend to reach out to people who share your worldview, or move away from them? I assume that most of your friends have very similar beliefs to yours. To define this phenomenon, there is a term - confirmation bias, that is, the tendency to confirm the information that corresponds to our beliefs, regardless of their truth.
We tend to those ideas and information that confirm our beliefs. This means that we become narrow-minded people with limited thinking and bad imagination.
But don't get me wrong. I am not saying that you should stop communicating with friends who do not share your beliefs. I'm talking about the importance of recognizing that even if we disagree with them, other people's beliefs are just as powerful as yours. The ability to understand this is extremely rare. But it is very important for creativity and growth.
5. We confuse the determinants of choice with results.
Are the best universities in the world like Harvard producing top-notch talent through their specific study programs? Or because they only select the smartest students?
My bet is that all Harvard students would be successful regardless of the university they attended. But it is likely that you are mistakenly attributing the success of Harvard graduates to the university itself, rather than to the selection process for admission to it. Only the very best candidates are accepted at Harvard, who will be successful no matter what.
Rolf Dobelly says professional swimmers do not gain the swimmer's physique through increased training. On the contrary: they become professional swimmers because they were born with a physique suitable for swimming. In other words, their physique is a selection factor, not a training result.
Why is this a problem? Because you attribute success to these wrong factors and (wrongly) expect success.
Here's another example. If you see a slender model on TV drinking a high-calorie drink, you get the impression that it will be good for you too. But each of us knows that this is not so. And yet, the TV picture forces us to buy sugar-containing drinks, which in fact will only distance us from the ideal body that we dream of.
So what can you do to fix this problem? Don't take everything at face value. Be aware of the information you receive every day.
6. You allow your perception to be manipulated.
Have you ever had to buy a car with 20% off the promotional price? Or a pair of jeans that were advertised yesterday for $ 100 and “just today” are only $ 50? Bargain?
What if I told you that these jeans actually cost $ 20? Still a good buy? Not so anymore. You have just fallen victim to the anchor effect.
The anchoring effect is a biased reaction in our thinking, due to which we tend to rely more on the information we receive first. This information becomes a starting point for us - an anchor. Stores use it to make us buy more and more.
Imagine walking into a clothing store and seeing a large sign that says, “Sale: All Shirts Reduced From $ 100 to $ 40. Hurry up - the sale ends today! "
And you think, “Wow! I don't need new shirts, but this is such a great opportunity! More than 50% discount. And in the end, well-made clothes will last longer than cheap ones. " And you buy.
Subconsciously, you were influenced by the first price you saw - $ 100, represented by a store trying to sell you a shirt. We make estimates based on comparisons. And in the absence of any other information, we subconsciously lean towards the first value that we learned.
So how do you overcome this trend? Remember the anchor effect. All this boils down to the fact that you need to pay special attention to what is happening at the moment. This will allow you to focus on all the attendant factors - right here and now. And it will improve your decision-making ability.
7. We are out of control when faced with a lot of choices.
Have you ever faced a situation where there were so many choices that in the end you could not make a decision at all? Welcome to The Paradox of Choice!
When we have too many choices, we “shut down”, feeling overwhelmed by information, and prefer to distance ourselves from the situation altogether. We just prefer not to get anything, only that this painful process ends sooner. In today's information-laden world, the paradox of choice is becoming an increasingly problematic issue.
What could be her solution? Reduce the number of options. Systematically remove options that are definitely not right for you before you feel like you can't handle the situation. Pay more attention to the fact that you want to get out of the situation, and less attention to the choice itself. It really helps you stay focused on your goals.
A great way to do this is to regularly review your goals. Know exactly what you want to receive each day and make a to-do list. By doing this, you will realize that the wide "choice" offered by the advertisement has nothing to do with you. You will spend more time doing the things that matter to you and less attention to distractions and irrelevant factors.
Here is an example I am using to explain what mindfulness and self-awareness are.
Imagine that you are sitting on the beach and watching the waves (your thoughts) in the ocean (your mind). You look at the entire ocean and at the same time at the waves as they rise and fall. A serene and soothing picture. Sooner or later, one of the waves attracts your attention. You start thinking only about her (one thought). You lose the big picture (your mind). Fix this moment in your mind, take a breath and return to observing the ocean again.
By doing this exercise over and over again, you will train your mindfulness, become more productive, and live a better life.
The real secret to overcoming your brain's tendency to make mistakes
For the next six months, focus on the practice of self-awareness. Using the breath as an anchor, watch your mind at this moment in time. Pay attention to what is happening here and now. Do this and you will be amazed at how many of these seven mistakes you can overcome through self-awareness.
If you want to be free from the invisible chains that bind you, devote yourself to the practice of self-awareness. Understand the structure of your mind and you will free yourself from the shackles that hold you back. Forever and ever.