Destructive Habits: Bias

There are many habits that destroy your mental peace, happiness and mostly you. Some of them are usually with different addictions or because of people but what destroys you as a person depends on how you view things and people around you. Your environment is what shapes you but to be different, you have to do it by yourself. 

The most common habits have become common because we are more focused elsewhere than ourselves. To be a better version of yourself, you need to view your flaws and work on them.

  1. Spotlight Effect: We overestimate how much attention people give to our words and appearance. Imagine you said something but it felt wrong after it came out. In reality, everyone only remembers it for the moment and immediately moves to the next topic. We ponder over it for days, forgetting that others don’t care as much as we do about it.

Example: “The red shoes don’t match the outfit at all! I guess the guys are laughing because of it”

*Red shoes matched the outfit better than you imagined*

Truth: No one cares about you as much as your loved ones do. Everyone is just a temporary traveler in your life and you have to be okay with it. Dress how you want and be how you want to be. 

  1. Status Quo Bias: We prefer for things to be the same; usually change is viewed as a negative aspect of life. If you adopt a new habit that cuts out something from your life, you immediately feel guilty of not being able to manage it, so you quit your new habit for the old one because it feels more comfortable.

Example: “I like to paint, but the classes are on Friday, I won’t be able to party! I can always paint later so let’s party now!”

*Proceeds to miss out on an amazing experience*

Truth: Change is hard. To adapt to a new routine and new place is always difficult and your mind is stuck on the old routine, but only then do you learn more about yourself. You may like to paint now, but when you explore it, you may not want to put the brush down! You need to explore that change for a while to know more about yourself.

  1. Zeigarnik Effect: We focus more on the incomplete tasks than the ones that have been completed. Sometimes, we forget to see that we have accomplished many things on the way, and we focus on the ones that we have not accomplished yet. It pushes you to feel bad that you are not able to do anything. 

Example: “Bro I lost the Table-Tennis Pan-India Semi-finals! I feel so like I can’t do it anymore”

*Came so far by winning championships and tournaments*

Truth: You have to see where you are today. Look behind you and see the different hurdles you had to come across. You didn’t cross them just to go back did you? It does feel bad to not achieve something the first time you try it, but when you achieve it, after toiling for some time, the fruit is incomparable.

  1. Pessimism Bias: We tend to overestimate the possibility of negative outcomes. We always have a small part of your mind that searches for a negative outcome. What you see and ask for, is what you get and have. You will increase the chance of losing the opportunity if all you see is losing it.

Example: “I feel like I will lose this chance to be head of department, there are so many others who are way more qualified.”

*Loses opportunity because it messed with your confidence and screwed your interview*

Truth: What energy you put out, is what you usually get. Sometimes, you lose opportunities, but don’t dwell on the wrong aspects. You may not have the necessary qualifications but the way you portray yourself is what gets you opportunities.

  1. Sunken-Cost Fallacy: We invest more in things that have cost us something, even if we have negative outcomes. We feel that if we invest more, the difference can be recovered with just a little gain.

Example: “My portfolio is down by 25%! I will invest 50% of it so with a 25% gain, I can recover the loss”

*Proceeds to lose more because the stock market is in a bear phase*

  1. Self-serving Bias: Our failures are situational but our success is our hardwork’s result. We view that our failures are determined by external factors and our success is because of us. It is also difficult to ascertain what caused success or failure on the spot so we divide it based on the result.

Example: “I lost the game because the opponent was too strong. I got the best player of the match because I practiced well”

*Opponent won because of your overconfidence in your practice*

“The eyes sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.”

~Robertson Davies

Sometimes, we see these habits recurring but we don’t want to change because we feel it will make others dislike us. By changing, you are not making your friends feel bad but giving them a chance to understand that it’s time to improve. It’s time to make yourself the person you always wanted to be. Everyday is a learning step and only then can you improve. These habits of biasing situations have a lot of effect on where you are and where  you want to be.

This post has been inspired by Ankur Warikoo. You can check his post on LinkedIn here!

This was a delight to write about. I hope you have found this article interesting and let me know about your thoughts on this. Keep on smiling!

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