Seeing What Is vs. What You WANT to See
This week, we’ve been taking a lot about how our own personal biases can affect the way that we make decisions and how we feel about certain issues. For example, the self-serving bias allows us to take credit for success and put blame for failures on the shoulders of someone else, and the bandwagon bias prevents us from figuring out or doing what we really want. Today, we’re going to talk about the confirmation bias:
Confirmation Bias: When You See What You Want to See
As explained by the article cited above, the confirmation bias is essentially seeing what you want to see, or accepting a piece of information as true because it confirms a preconceived notion that you already held. For example, if you are on a diet that emphasizes only eating carbohydrates, you may quickly dismiss a study that states that fat–not carbs–is good for you, and quickly accept another report that highlights how great sugar is for athletes. Whether any of the information you have in front of you is true, but you are more likely to accept the information that supports what you already believe and are doing.
The Downsides of the Confirmation Bias
The downsides of the confirmation bias are clear: being biased by what you already believe may prevent you from seeing the big picture, or may cause you to dismiss information too quickly that could otherwise benefit you.
The best way to counter this is to tell yourself that you will accept all new information with an open mind. Indeed, an open mind is key for your energetics and success.