How to fight the confirmation bias

“It is difficult to lay aside a confirmed passion.” – Caius Valerius Catullus

Aha! you got an idea and you want to do some research to know if you’re idea has wings. You setup google alerts, hashtags about related topics on twitter, follow people in the know, join related groups on Linkedin, etc. You know the drill!

Soon after you start receiving information, this information looks familiar to you, it makes sense. Other people are talking about the same thing, you engage them and start exchanging ideas which start taking on a life of their own. This confirms your hunch, you get more excited because your idea has wings. Bangarang! you’re sure to be a gazillionaire!

Sound familiar?

This is the confirmation bias.

Whenever we have an idea, instead of searching for ways to prove our ideas wrong, we usually attempt to prove them correct. Once we see a pattern we do not easily let go of it, we keep digging and digging to see that pattern more and more. Sometimes there isn’t even a pattern there but we somehow ‘want’ to believe there is. You know all too well how this plays out in any organization.

Let’s change that. Time to turn off your lizard brain and engage your critical, truth seeking side of your brain.

In order to fight the confirmation bias let’s do the opposite: learn to spend as much time looking for ‘evidence’ that we are wrong as we spend searching for reasons that we are correct.

It’s not fun trying to prove we’re not the hotshots we think we are but the truth shall set you free.

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