Cognitive biases are my crack cocaine, I can’t stop wanting to learn more.
This week it’s about survivorship bias. This bias has our mind focusing on people, ideas, and situations that succeeded while forgetting to consider all the ones that failed.
By not looking at failures, which are THE majority, we miss most of what life has to teach us.
Example. 95% of businesses fail. That sounds bad so our brain focuses on learning how the 5% made it. Our “social” brain consisting of the media, entertainment industries, and authors put the 5% on a pedestal to view ad nauseam. Who doesn’t like a get rich quick, feel good idea?
I want to know more about the 95% who failed. Did the successes experience any of this failure? If so, what did they learn and how did it help them succeed?
The diet industry sells its products with the success stories of a few people. If you follow up with those people a few years later they have failed to keep their weight off permanently. Why?
Successes are what we want to see. Successes are what marketing departments want us to see. But I don’t want to focus on the smallest portion of the story, I want to consider the failures that are most of life.
As I consider those at work who have successfully lost weight I see a common thread – they did it meal in meal out, day after day, over time. They chose the long term goal of losing weight over the immediate gratification of eating what their toddler brain wanted in the moment.
Those of us that failed to lose weight? Our story is different. We failed because we did not:
- plan ahead
- make better choices
- delay our gratification
- manage our thoughts
- acknowledge our emotions
- listen to our bodies
- take responsibility for our actions
- live with negative emotions
- examine why we failed
This list of our failures becomes our list for success.
Survivorship bias helps us filter information and accept what comes to mind so we can act. Let’s give our brain a current, timely positive example to act upon.
I have a two week challenge for everyone to get your brain to the point where it has a positive personal example to believe.
Do all the things listed above for two weeks. That’s it.
A FREE 2-week diet plan!
I have linked each point to a previous blog article. Good luck and may the delayed gratification be with you!