Cogito ergo sum - The ripples of cognitive bias through human behaviour
As I was reading through a Forbes article about common patterns in successful people’s lives, I was quickly skimming through. ‘Persistence’ - yeah. ‘Planning ahead’ - yeah. And a little further down the list was the fifth tip, ‘Waking up early’.
I had been scrolling through this article at the speed of light, but when I saw this particular tip I stopped and actually read through its little assigned paragraph. And as I noticed this little quirk in my behaviour, I couldn’t help but ask myself that all-encompassing and ever intriguing question: why?
It didn’t take me more than 5 seconds to realise. For the past month I have joined the ‘5am club’ - simply meaning I am now one of those annoying people who believe they are so much more productive in the morning and have so much more time to focus on my own projects. Yes, cliché - but true. As is the case with most clichés.
Coming back to the article, the reason I stopped to read that particular paragraph about waking up early was because 1. I had been thinking about its importance a lot recently (thus priming myself to respond to it) and, more importantly, 2. It confirmed a concept that I had engrained into my belief system.
Here is where confirmation bias comes in... As we grow older and we accumulate more and more information through experience, we begin to build certain patterns of thought in our minds and acquire certain beliefs.
Our brains love consistency - and when we come across something that contradicts our core beliefs, we are more readily inclined to reject rather than consider its validity.
So if the article had been titled ‘Reasons why waking up early has no benefits,’ I probably would have scrolled past it with a sneer. Similarly, how do we react to people who reveal in conversation completely opposing views from our own? Do we immediately shut them down or patiently listen and consider their opinion?
I should hope it’s the latter - but we can only control our reactions once we are conscious of the presence of this bias in our own minds. Self-awareness at this level, when it becomes a habit, has the potential of absolutely transforming your behaviour.
Imagine how becoming aware of your subconscious biases can impact your life - how much frustration, anger or resentment you can avoid and how much more precious time you can spend consciously creating your reality in a positive way.
Self-awareness is a superpower - the benefits of which you can benefit from immediately by taking control of your mind.
- Cognitive bias shapes our response to the information we are exposed to;
- Taking back control of our thoughts means consciously recognising this bias in our thinking - and it can transform our behavioural patterns.