Stop Doing This “Now”! (15 Harmful Mental Errors)


Stop Doing This “Now”! (15 Harmful Mental Errors)

Your mind is focused on survival, not prosperity! And society doesn’t help either.


In this article, we’re looking at 15 mental errors you don’t know you’re making. By the end, you’re not going to fall victim to the same mental patterns as everyone else. Thus, getting a long-term competitive advantage.

Let’s get started…

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01 The Sunk Cost Fallacy

“The Sunk Cost Fallacy” refers to people pursuing a goal that they know they will fail at, just because they’ve already invested time, effort or money.

In poker: It’s holding onto a losing hand just because you’ve already put the majority of your chips in the pot.
In business: It’s staying in an unfulfilling company just because you’ve been with them for 10 years.
In love: It’s staying in a relationship that’s not benefiting you just because it’s convenient for you and you’re scared to start over.
The quicker you act against the sunk cost fallacy, the better in life you are…

02 You have a Personal Bias

We all hold our own subjective worldviews that are influenced and shaped by our personal experiences, beliefs, values, education, family, friends, peers and others.

You are the sum of everything that has happened to you up to this point in life. Your opinions, advice, worldviews are skewed by all of that. It’s easy to look down on someone or up for that matter without knowing all the variables that put them in that situation.

You don’t know any better than that which you have learned! So don’t project your perception of reality onto others that might differ from you fundamentally.

03 Anchoring

You base your decisions on the first information available which serves as an “Anchor”. Every decision you make is now silently reported to that first piece of info because it’s all you have.

But, your mind plays tricks on you and even acts against your best interest because your mind doesn’t care if the information you get is accurate or not. In every interaction, your mind will default to available data considering no matter what the data is. If all you’ve heard about someone is mean gossip, your entire perception of that person will be based on that piece of info even if it isn’t factually true — thus — skewing our behavior.

This applies in business as well. The first person to say a number sets the anchor in a negotiation — It gives you the starting point!

Pay close attention to the anchors you set for yourself and even more attention to the anchors others try to set for you.

04 Cascade Denial

Your mind is there to protect you, so it will do mental gymnastics in order to justify your actions.

The “Cascade Denial” is most commonly observed in politicians, but not exclusively. You’ve probably done it a few times without realizing what it was.

Here’s an example of “Cascade Denial”—

“That didn’t happen!”
“If it did, it wasn’t that bad!”
“If it was, it wasn’t a big deal!”
“If it is, it’s not my fault!”
“If it is, then I didn’t mean it!”
“If I did, then they deserved it!”
As you can tell, it’s about minimizing the damage or justifying your actions in order to save face. We can assure you that there’s at least one person in your family who uses this strategy to try and get away with things.

You know who they are…

05 You Overestimate the Odds of Success

This is also called “Survivorship Bias”.

History is written by the winners!

The press writes only about those who make it, they never show the thousands that failed when only one succeeded. The name survivorship bias has a pretty interesting story like dating to the second world war and how they figured out which parts of the airplanes to reinforce. Initially, they used to look at the bullet holes of the planes when they returned and add extra armor to the hit spots. This was a common practice until a mathematician pointed out that these are the planes that did make it back despite those hits.

Thus, the smarter move is to reinforce everything else but the hit spots as those are the ones that took the planes down. It changed the way air battle is carried out and hence the name.

Don’t base your strategy for success on the evidence provided by survivors, instead, look at what killed everyone else and improve from there. We love this story because it’s actionable & effective and it goes against what seems obvious.

06 Black & White Dilemma

We love duality as humans! For the longest time in our evolution, our brain was binary in nature and this is why code is written in zeros and ones as well.

This trait transpired to modern life and it’s a big part of how we view society — it’s either a “win” or a “loss”. You either get the job or you don’t — it’s either “yes” or “no”. We love thinking in black & white but it’s actually not beneficial to anyone. There’s always a third option that you’re not considering.

Life is not a zero-sum-game!

If you really wanted, you could potentially find a win-win solution.

07 Correlation vs Causation

Just because one thing happened after another doesn’t mean they are connected.

This mental error happens because many things in life have a causation relationship. You see the rainbow after rain because the humidity in the air allows light to refract. But not everything follows the same rule.

Or… who knows? Maybe it’s a super strong bird(who are we to tell?)—

(for explanatory purpose only)
Joke aside, we learned this in the first year of studying statistics — “Correlation does not imply causation!” This is why many predictions fail. People are unable to realize that things simply aren’t connected. Just because two variables have a statistical relationship with each other does not mean that one is responsible for the other.

For instance, ice cream sales and forest fires are correlated because both occur more often in the summer heat, but there is no causation. Buying Gelato has no impact that we know of on forest fires.

08 Loss Aversion vs Reward

This right here is the reason why only 1% of the population is rich.

On average, people tend to skew towards “Loss aversion”. This means that people would rather play it safe and protect what they have instead of risking it for a bigger win. Human beings experience losses asymmetrically more severely than equivalent gains.

Losing $10 is exponentially more impactful to your emotional state than winning $10 and although the sum is the same.

Here’s what a loss aversion chart looks like —

(for explanatory purpose only)
Because people are so scared of losing what they have, they default to eliminating themselves out of the game completely by leaving all the rewards to those willing to go after them and win. This is one of the main reasons why the general wealth is being accrued by a handful of individuals.

09 Expecting other people to read your mind or act like you would.

Just because you have a dialogue happening in your mind doesn’t mean other people are hearing the same things.

Go back to number two if you want to know why this isn’t the case. This happens especially in managerial positions where you expect your employees to think the same way that you do, but they don’t! They don’t have the oversight that you do, they can’t see the big picture or how the dominoes will fall.

So, you have to break it down for them. Make sure you have given your people a full understanding of all the tools necessary before judging if they got the job done or not. You can’t be mad at someone who didn’t do the thing how you wanted it to be done if you didn’t train or explain what the desired outcome is.

10 You wait for motivation to strike you.

People believe motivation comes and goes. What they don’t know is that motivation only finds you if you’re in a creative mode or already working. This is why most people are uninspired.

You’re not bored, you’re boring!

You’re not doing anything that could inspire you. If you want to score a goal, you need to first be on the field. You need to be in athletic wear and position yourself to be on the receiving end of a pass.

This is specifically why we’ll soon release “Shorts” — a new list of short series articles which will be productive & actionable at the same time. It’ll be a combination between a constant flow of motivation and distilled wisdom that compounds over time. Every day, you’ll get a new bite of motivation that’ll allows you to get consistently better. So make sure you’ve followed us and subscribed to our newsletter.

11 High confidence is usually found in the least competent people.

If you ever worked in a multinational company, you probably came across some bosses or managers that have no business being that high up in the food chain.

We see it all the time, but somehow low competence people end up on top. There’s actually a scientific explanation called — “The Dunning-Kruger Effect”.

(for explanatory purpose only)
It’s a cognitive bias whereby people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability. The more you comprehend a situation at hand, the more you are aware of the variables and how they intertwine. Life is a lot more complex than dumb people think it is and true progress is made by those willing to let go of the ego in order to actually get good at something.

To translate it into financial terms —

“Everyone is a genius in a bull market!”

12 Red Car Effect

The red car effect is also one of the weird things your mind does.

If we tell you to look for a red car, you’re more likely to notice how many red cars are actually out there. This applies to everything: You buy a new car and all of a sudden, you start seeing the same car model everywhere in traffic. Did the number of similar cars go up? — No! But your perception of them has tightened.

The scientific name is “The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon” or “The Frequency Illusion”. Now that you’re paying attention, it seems that the phenomenon at hand happens at a much quicker frequency.

13 Confirmation Bias

We’re all guilty of this because we like how it feels when we win arguments.

(for explanatory purpose only)
So, we pick and choose the facts that are in line with our narrative. The thing is the internet is so abundant that you can prove anything right. The only way to grow as a person is to check out opposing ideas and be open to the logic behind them.

14 Everybody has their own “truth”.

Out of everything on this list, we hate this one the most. We absolutely hate it when people say they have their own truth.

(for explanatory purpose only)
They usually snarkily point to the following image which you’ve probably seen at some point shared by an uncle you try to ignore. The problem we have with this image and the overall “my truth movement” is that one of these two people is wrong.

Yes, your perspective might be different but it ain’t the truth. Somebody put the number on the floor to specifically indicate a six or a nine but not both. Truth is objectively factual, truth cannot be faked, for it is true in the context of the situation.

Just because you have your own truth, doesn’t mean you are correct!

15 Worrying about things outside of your control.

Since your mind was designed to protect you, it defaults to worrying about everything and causing you tremendous amounts of stress.

You probably feel some stress right now. A psychology professor at the University of California conducted a big study on the things people worry about and the results are super interesting.

About 85% of the things people worry about never happen!

(for explanatory purpose only)
If you want your life to gradually get better, it’s time you started taking action on the little things that you “can” do! In time, these will add up and more opportunities will open up for you.

CONTRIBUTED BY Entrepreneurs Blog

Read More: How To Train Your Brain To Do Hard Things

Read More: 4 Habits of Emotionally Intelligent People.

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